By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Cameron Dunkin fully expects the emerging star he manages, Nonito Donaire, to overcome Omar Narvaez later night.
Dunkin just doesn’t expect this fight to be nearly as easy for “The Filipino Flash” as his last bout. Donaire destroyed formidable Fernando Montiel in their WBC/WBO bantamweight title fight Feb. 19 in Las Vegas, but Narvaez (35-0-2, 19 KOs) isn’t nearly as aggressive as Montiel (46-3-2, 36 KOs).
“He’s very crafty, extremely smart,” Dunkin said of Narvaez. “He was a great amateur. He’s very skillful, doesn’t take any chances, boxes. He’s just the kind of guy who can really give Nonito trouble because he doesn’t engage. If Nonito gets guys like Montiel, who come to knock him out, or guys like [Volodymyr] Sydorenko, who come to knock him out, he counters them and blows their heads off. Those are the kinds of guys he looks good against, guys who’ll stand straight in front of him, where he can walk to them and, with his size, take over.
“Nonito has always had trouble with guys that are small, you know, small targets, that are short and they move. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t beat them. I think he’s the best fighter in the world — period. But they’ve always caused him trouble. I told [Donaire trainer] Robert [Garcia] that it’s a tough fight.”
Narvaez looked noticeably smaller than Donaire at the press conference and the weigh-in this week. The 36-year-old Argentine southpaw stands about 5-foot-3, four inches shorter than Donaire, and figures to give away some weight by the time they meet in this HBO “Boxing After Dark” main event in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
He’ll also make his bantamweight debut in a 12-round fight for Donaire’s WBC and WBO 118-pound crowns. Narvaez has competed at flyweight and super flyweight throughout his 11-year pro career.
He held the WBO flyweight title from July 2002 until he moved up to capture the WBO super flyweight title in May 2010. Overall, he has made 19 defenses of either 112-pound and 115-pound world titles over the past nine years.
“Narvaez is undefeated,” Dunkin said. “He had a great amateur career and, like I said, he’s very big over there. And he’s not going to take any chances. He’s going to be leery of Nonito’s power. He’s going to just try to get his in and get the hell out of there. That’s a wise idea, but I think you’ll see that Nonito is extremely fast and extremely quick and, despite being so much bigger and stronger and hitting so much harder, he also can box his ass off. I think that’s what we’ll see.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.