By Ryan Maquiñana
Nonito Donaire’s trainer, Robert Garcia, spoke to BoxingScene.com regarding his fighter’s first camp as a junior featherweight, as well as a possible matchup with newly crowned WBA 122-pound champ Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba.
BoxingScene.com: Guillermo Rigondeaux just won the WBA title and reportedly called you out in the postfight press conference last night. What are the chances of Donaire-Rigondeaux happening by the end of the year?
Robert Garcia: I don’t even think he’s going to be in the picture. There’s bigger names. I’m not saying that Rigondeaux is not that big of a name. He’s a world champion now, but we have the [Jorge] Arces and [Juan Manuel] Lopezes and all these other names that Top Rank handles that make more sense for money and TV and everything.
BoxingScene.com: So are you saying you don’t think Rigondeaux has earned a shot at Nonito yet?
Robert Garcia: He still hasn’t, and that fight makes no sense. And we’re better off fighting the Arces or moving up and fighting the Lopezes and [Yuriorkis] Gamboas at featherweight than fighting Rigondeaux who nobody really cares about.
BoxingScene.com: Here’s a scenario. Let’s say Nonito looks really good at 122 pounds off the bat and stops Vazquez early. Does that mean he’s not long for the weight and you move him directly up to 126 in light of the idea that Gamboa and Lopez will be leaving featherweight soon?
Robert Garcia: I say do one more fight maybe against Arce, and then go to featherweight. Why not? Nonito’s very talented. He’s got the height, the power, everything to fight at featherweight. He’s probably taller than most of the featherweights around.
BoxingScene.com: How has Nonito’s body responded to junior featherweight so far?
Robert Garcia: There were a few worries at first, but our last sparring was Thursday. He did 12 rounds with two of my guys. One is a Russian (Evgeny Gradovich) who keeps coming and throws hundreds of punches every round, and Nonito did three rounds with him. Then we brought in Javier “Pelos” Garcia for seven rounds straight. And then we brought in the Russian again for the last two or three rounds, I believe. And Nonito did very good, so I’ve been pleased with the weight training.
BoxingScene.com: So you haven’t seen any effects on his power and speed?
Robert Garcia: I don’t see any effects at all. The Russian kid is a featherweight and very strong. He keeps coming. Javier is a lightweight, and Nonito was taking everything pretty good and landing pretty good shots, so I’m not worried anymore.
BoxingScene.com: How is his diet now that he doesn’t have to boil down to 118 anymore?
Robert Garcia: He’s not worried about his weight. He’s walking around at 125, 126, so those last three or four pounds won’t be a problem.
BoxingScene.com: Tell us how you think Nonito’s fight with Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. will go.
Robert Garcia: Vazquez is a hell of a fighter. He’s a great fighter, great champion. But I think Nonito’s performance is going to be spectacular.
Ryan Maquiñana is the boxing correspondent for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Advisory Panel. E-mail him at email@example.com , check out his blog at www.maqdown.com , or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.