by Ronnie Nathanielsz
2012 “Fighter of the Year” Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire is pushing himself to the limit in his preparation for his title fight against WBA featherweight champion Simpiwe Vetyeka of South Africa at the Cotai Arena of the plush Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino in Macao on May 31.
The four division world champion who is coming off a 9th round TKO of hard-hitting Vic Darchinyan in his first fight as a featherweight sparred eight rounds at high noon in the stifling heat of the Gabriel “Bebot” Elorde Gym in Saint Rita’s Village along Sucat, Paranaque on Thursday and repeated the regimen on Saturday.
BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard watched Donaire spar five rounds with former WBC super bantamweight Silver Champion Sylvester Lopez who weighed 140 pounds followed by three rounds with featherweight Vergel Nebran and were impressed with his tremendous power as well as his speed.
Nonito’s father/trainer “Dodong” Donaire told the Standard that he also did a couple of rounds on the punch mitts on Thursday and went through a rigorous sprint routine in their Alabang Hills neighborhood under strength and conditioning coach Nick Curson and also did some swimming.
At the end of the sparring session the four division champion said “just putting the hand-wraps on I was already tired and sweating because of the heat but I went eight rounds even though I planned to go ten. But there was no need for it. I felt really good. Work with the mitts, work with the bag because you really don’t have to do too much sparring but do a lot of cardio exercises after sparring and that’s what we did.”
He said the sprinting “is crucial for this week and the next where you maximize your heart rate. Early on in training camp we maximized our recovery which is just to get the heart rate low and now we are pushing that heart rate up. Now my heart can go both sides of the heart rate and we feel good. Recovery is fast and we are ready to go twelve rounds.
Donaire plans to spar ten rounds on Monday and twelve on Wednesday and then “we should peak and when that happens we’ll be ready to go.”
Team Donaire leaves for Macao on May 24. He said “we’ll do a little sprint out there and we should be ready. I’m always ready. No more excuses.”
Father/trainer Donaire Sr told us “the sparing was very good. Nonito is already in shape. ” He said “I was really satisfied, especially the first three rounds against Lopez. He was explosive. So happy. Lopez pushes him real hard. He is skilled, a really good fighter.”
Asked whether he was happy with Nonito’s condition, the father/trainer replied “I am 110 percent happy” even as he added, “Nonito is disciplined so I don’t need to watch him and as far as his weight is concerned he is around 132 pounds.”
“Bebot” Elorde who intently watched the sparring said “it was good. Nonito’s power is still there despite the heat” even as he said Lopez “went all out and it was good sparring.”
He said Donaire was “just playing around with his sparring partners and was getting into his rhythm” while Curson squelched speculations that Donaire was “cramming” for the Vetyeka fight when he told us, “No, he’s fine. He’s getting enough rest and adapts so quickly he surprises me.”
Curson also mentioned that Donaire’s former trainers had told him that Nonto had tremendous powers of recovery and that “one day he doesn’t look so good and the next day he is terrific.”