By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Trainer and former world champion Robert Garcia says Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire is in “real good shape” as he prepares for his planned July 21 title defense possibly against former world super flyweight champion Cristian Mijares or IBF super bantamweight champion Jeffrey Mathebula of South Africa.
Garcia told the BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard that he had visited Donaire who had begun training, some two weeks ago, and “he already looked in real good shape. He looked solid, very strong.”
He said he would join Donaire who trains at the Top Rank gym in Las Vegas once the date and opponent are finalized and that he would travel to Vegas to personally handle Donaire’s training.
Garcia said while he hadn’t any idea of who Top Rank and Donaire’s manager Cameron Dunkin have picked as an opponent he said that if its Mijares “well be okay. It’s a tough fight because Mijares is a great champion so it will be an interesting fight.”
One of the emerging top trainers Garcia emphasized that Donaire is “ready for anybody. He doesn’t make those decisions. Its Cameron Dunkin who is the best in the business so he knows whom he’s going to match him (Donaire) up with. Cameron and Top Rank do their job and we’ll be ready to do the same.”
At the same time Garcia commended Bernabe Concepcion who lost by a 7th round TKO to his undefeated featherweight and younger brother Mikey Garcia (28-0, 24 KO’s). He said Concepcion had definitely improved since his previous fight. He said Concepcion “started with a good jab but Mikey is at a different level and even though his opponents are good, he makes it looks easy.” He said Concepion “is not an easy opponent and is a great fighter.”
Garcia said they are likely to go into a purse bid for a shot at the WBA title of Celestino Caballero who retained his crown with a unanimous twelve round decision against Japan’s Satoshi Hosono last December 31.