The Donaires are back as a team and ready to face an old foe
06 Nov 2013
Their much-publicized misunderstanding a few years ago was the stuff that “Pinoys” crave for. It is sports news, slash show and business drama - fused into one. The Donaires, Nonito Sr. and Nonito Jr. were an item of discussion amongst boxing and non-boxing fans in the Philippines and abroad. Their story was a hot item, a feast for controversy-hungry readers that followed every development of the quarrel.
Sides were taken, both within the Donaire family and outside of it. Some members of the media took sides, fueling the already uncomfortable spat between father and son/boxer and former trainer.
But that was a long time ago, and this Saturday night (Sunday morning in the Philippines), the father and son tandem of “Coach Senior” and the boxer known as “The Filipino Flash” are back as a team, as a family - against a familiar foe across the ring.
Donaire Jr. will face former opponent and world champion, Vic Darchinyan of Armenia in a rematch that took more than six years in the making.
And just like in 2007 in Connecticut, Donaire Jr. will have a familiar face in his corner, one that he has been missing in his surge to the top of the boxing world in the last five years, his first coach- his “Papang” (Daddy in Filipino).
After years apart and a rift that took more than five years to mend, the Donaires reconciled this year when son invited his father to visit his new grandson, Jarel in their Las Vegas home. And after that, the boxer called him and asked him to join his camp for his rematch with Darchinyan. He agreed immediately.
“Parang walang nangyari, pakiramdam ko matagal lang kaming di nagkita,” Donaire Sr. recalled after their first mitt session in years.
(Like nothing happened, I just felt that, we have not seen each other for a long time.)
The Donaires, just like in the past are at it again, sharing the same ring together, the younger Donaire hitting the pads while Coach Sr. utters instructions as they do their routine in the gym.
“It’s been good. It’s been good. It is like, we just know how to connect when we train. It’s already given. He has been training me since the beginning of my boxing career, since the amateur days, since day one,” Donaire Jr. expressed.
“It just comes in natural when he started training me. It just comes in natural what we do. We just learn how to flow really well.”
Nonito Sr. joined his son, daughter-in-law Rachel and yes, Jarel last Sunday as they make their trip to Corpus Christi, Texas, site of Saturday’s battle with Darchinyan. The elder Donaire will also join his son’s corner at fight night in a bout that is a part of a triple header offering by HBO and Top Rank.
“He’ll be in the corner. He will be one of the guys for the fight in my corner. It has been a good camp, because we start to learn a lot of new things or we start to get back the old things that I already forgot,“ said Donaire Jr. who admitted that the presence of his father has been an added boost in this this camp.
“With my dad in the gym and in our training camp, he has been a great help, he’s been putting the game plan back together, so he’s helping out a lot.“
The reconciliation has been a welcome surprise for fans of the boxer and those who knew them both. That uncomfortable feeling, that thorn- now gone after their reconciliation.
Was Donaire Jr.’s previous loss a factor in this reunion? – Perhaps. Was it brought about the newest member of the family, Jarel? – Definitely.
Or maybe, it was Darchinyan, their old feisty foe in the ring that made this reunion possible, one that will be the story line of this Saturday's rematch.
"No one knew about him at that time. I made him, I am here to break him. You will see it. I make him and I am going to break him," threatened Darchinyan when the fight was first announced.
“Siguro si Lord ang may kagustuhan ng lahat ng ito.” (Maybe the Lord willed all of this.) Donaire Sr. told me when I mentioned that it is unreal that it took the same opponent to bring them back together as a team.
“I am excited of working with him again as a trainer and a father. I've been waiting for (this) for so long,“ he expressed.
This Saturday, Pinoys will have something to talk about the father and son team of the Donaires. And unlike the old “show-business-like” news that they have been accustomed to in the past, they will now see boxer and trainer, father and son, a family united as they make their way in that ring in Texas- eager to do do battle once again- against an old rival.
It has been a long time coming indeed. It has been a long time coming.
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Photo: The Donaires in training. Photo by Marvin Mabait.
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