By Ryan Burton
BoxingScene.com spoke to Nonito "Filipino Flash" Donaire a few days after his knockout victory over Hernan Marquez in Puerto Rico in the co-featured bout of the Juan Manuel Lopez-Bernabe Concepcion main event. Nonito and his wife Rachel have extended their stay in Puerto Rico, enjoying a vacation before Nonito turns his attention to moving up to bantamweight to face WBC/WBO champion Fernando Montiel in the fall. If Donaire finds success at bantamweight there has been talk of him then immediately moving up to super bantamweight to face WBO champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. Donaire speaks on all these topics and more in this exclusive interview.
BoxingScene.com: First off what do led to your decision to start off the fight in a southpaw stance?
Nonito Donaire: You know I had this injury in my left leg actually and I couldn't move and I couldn't box and I couldn't train. We just decided to see if I could fight lefty so we could see if it bothered me. I switched to southpaw and it wasn't bothering me as much as when I fought orthodox so we trained as a southpaw for a week and a half which was the remaining time left in camp. I sparred with a lot of the guys and I did pretty well with it but I had never tried it in a fight. It was either cancel the fight because of the injury or train southpaw for the rest of the week and a half of training and see if we wanted to fight southpaw. At the same time we wanted to see if the time off from orthodox would help heal the leg. I was excited to see what I could do in a southpaw stance. That is the reason why I started out in the southpaw stance. At the same time I was pretty excited about trying it out in a fight and being versatile.
BoxingScene.com: You have fought out of a southpaw stance in spurts before but never for such an extended amount of time. What did you learn from it?
Nonito Donaire: I learned a lot. The reason why I was having a little bit of difficulty is because he (Marquez) was very short and every time I tried to get under his punches he was already aiming for my face. It was something that I needed to learn to do and to be comfortable with. I learned a lot from it and I am excited to try it some more and get better at it. I got a lot of experience out of it in those four rounds. I am confident I can use it and I can make it happen. I think that I am going to get better at it and I am looking forward to it.
BoxingScene.com: You mentioned how Marquez was able to hit you when you were in the southpaw stance but even when you switched to orthodox it seemed you were still getting hit more than you usually do. Was it just the height difference or was there another problem with your defense?
Nonito Donaire: The height difference was there but being Marquez was a shorter guy, one thing I figured out was that I should let him throw a punch because he opens up that way and then I had an opening. It was just one thing that I figured out with him. I could have just tried to break him apart and just throw a lot of punches and waste a lot of punches while he would try to block them. I tried to put my face in there to encourage him to try to hit me. That way he was very open and he was giving me a chance to take him out. He was very reserved because there were very few times he did that. I got hit but I knew what his distance was. I was never hurt and it didn't feel as bad as it might have looked on TV. The punches didn't have any pop to them. As much as I got him it wasn't dangerous for me. I had a lot of confidence that one way or another I would open him up. With him hitting me I thought he would feel more confident trying to hit me.
BoxingScene.com: So you were basically dangling a piece of cheese in front of the mouse to see if he would take the bait?
Nonito Donaire: That is pretty much it. He mostly opened himself up when he punched me. I tried to just make him chase doing that. It got the job done. He opened up for my uppercut and my hooks to land. That is all I needed. It was my game plan. I figured out it was much easier for me to wait for him to punch me rather than me punch him and open him up.
BoxingScene.com: You switched to orthodox in the fifth round and almost immediately you scored a knockdown. Did you feel that you would get a knockdown that soon after making the switch?
Nonito Donaire: After I figured him out I wasn't surprised. I had figured him out. I hadn't really seen him fight before that. I did the lefty thing for four rounds and then I just said, okay this kid has pretty good power but he is pretty telegraphed. His punches were seen easily from where I was standing up close. I did figure it out while I was in the left handed stance. It was just the easiest way for me to hit him. I just wasn't as comfortable with ducking and slipping like I am when I fight righthanded. When I was in my orthodox style that was when I would slip him and try to throw an uppercut. I would try to make him miss and then capitalize on his mistakes.
BoxingScene.com: It seemed like you eased off a little in the sixth round. Were you trying to stretch the fight out since your last fight ended so early?
Nonito Donaire: No. The reason for that was because I wanted him to throw a punch. I knew I could force it and force it but you never know. My hand might give out. There are a lot of things that could happen in there. He might throw a lucky punch or something like that. I was confident that I could put my face where he could hit it but not real hard so it won't be dangerous and at the same time if I catch what he does I can duck his punch and in that slight second he will be open for anything I throw underneath or over. When he did that I threw the uppercut underneath and I caught him. It was just a matter of time that he was going to go. Then for a while he didn't throw a punch and I was trying to make him throw one. I just took my time and I got some rounds in there. I tried to just move and get more confidence.
BoxingScene.com: It looks like you will be getting your wish and finally getting a big fight in Fernando Montiel, providing he wins on Saturday. How does it feel to finally get the big fight you have been craving?
Nonito Donaire: I am very excited right now. When I was at the post fight press conference Bob Arum announced it. Nothing is on paper yet. I can't wait till it is on paper so that it will happen. Not like what happened with Darchinyan when it fell through. I still have my fingers crossed that it will go through. I am very excited that there are negotiations going on. It is something that I am really really looking forward to.
BoxingScene.com: Bob Arum also said that if you get past Montiel that you probably would immediately move up to face WBO super bantamweight champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. How do you feel about jumping up that high so fast?
Nonito Donaire: I think it would be great. I think I will be more comfortable in the 122 pound division than in the 118 pound division. 118 and 115 will be pretty similar. 118 I will still have to lose a lot of weight. 122 will be the perfect weight for me. I am excited to finally have a game plan laid out for the rest of this year and for next year. Hopefully everything goes well so that it happens.
BoxingScene.com: You already have a rivalry versus Mexican fighters. It sounds like you might start building one versus Puerto Rican fighters.
Nonito Donaire: Well for me who ever is in front of me is a guy who is a rival. It is always good to have nationalism and different nationalities fighting each other. One country versus another country. There is always that excitement from the crowd.
BoxingScene.com: Do you have a message for the fans?
Nonito Donaire: First of all I want to thank them for all their prayers and all the support they have given me throughout. This victory and all of the victories that I have, have made me realized how important my fans are to me. They give me the determination to work hard and I just want to thank them for all that they have given me. They help me work hard and keep me dedicated. They make me just want to do my best every time I am in the ring because they are part of who I am and part of my victories so I want to thank them for all the support.
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