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Donaire faces rugged, awkward foe


PhilBoxing.com




Nonito Donaire, Jr. takes on dangerous Ruben Garcia-Hernandez in a 10-round bout for the vacant WBC silver featherweight title in San Antonio, Texas, this morning (Manila time) with his sights set on big-money fights down the road and losing not an option.

Donaire, 34, told The Star yesterday he’s ready to execute a fight plan that will break down the Mexican’s defense bit by bit. “I’ve watched Garcia’s fight against (Randy) Caballero,” he said. “Garcia’s rugged, awkward, not a heavy hitter. He doesn’t pack a big punch. I won’t rush things. I’ll jab, establish my distance and set up my power shots. I don’t think he’s ever fought anyone like me. I won’t stand in front of him and get hit even if he’s not a big puncher. Why take the risk? I’ll stick to my fight plan and when the time is right to take him out, I’ll move in.”

Against Caballero, Garcia was dropped twice by the former IBF bantamweight champion and surrendered on his stool before the start of the eighth round. “That’s the only fight I’ve watched of Garcia,” said Donaire. “It’s enough to give me an idea of how to take him. Caballero was very aggressive in that fight and Garcia couldn’t handle him. I won’t be that aggressive, at least at the start. Caballero’s not really heavy-handed. I think my power is at a different level.”

Donaire said he’s in the best shape of his life. He trained in Tokyo for over a month then moved to Las Vegas to resume his training. Donaire sparred with Cuban lightweight Ivan Jimenez and Australian superbantamweight Jason Moloney, both unbeaten, before tapering off in San Antonio. Jimenez, 21, has a 7-0-1 record, with 4 KOs, while Moloney, 26, boasts a 14-0 mark, with 11 KOs.

Working Donaire’s corner will be cutman Mike Bazzel, chiropractor Cameron Fort and Japanese mittman Kitahara. Cuban trainer Ismael Salas won’t be around. “Salas came to the gym only once to watch my sparring with Ivan,” said Donaire. “I don’t really consult him on strategy. I make my own. Besides, Salas will be with (WBA lightweight champion Jorge) Linares in his defense against Luke Campbell in Inglewood.”

Donaire said he’s not looking past Garcia. “I know he’s a workhorse,” he said. “Last year, he did two fights in a week and this year, he’s already fought thrice. He’s a typical Mexican warrior who’ll face anybody. But that takes a toll on the body. Let’s see how prepared he is when we fight.” Garcia has a 22-2-1 record, with nine KOs and has won his last seven outings. Donaire’s record is 37-4, with 24 KOs, and he hasn’t fought since losing the WBO superbantamweight crown to Jessie Magdaleno last November.

The fight will be Donaire’s first under the Ringstar Sports banner of Richard Schaefer, former Golden Boy CEO. “I’ve been talking with Richard,” he said. “We did a TV morning show together the other day. He’s excited and I’m excited. This is the start of a new chapter in my career. We haven’t talked about my next fight after this but we’re agreed that I’m going for the big guys out there, the world champions, whoever they are.”

This will be Donaire’s fourth assignment as a featherweight. He beat Vic Darchinyan and Simpiwe Vetyeka but lost to Nicholas Walters. His last five bouts were in the superbantamweight class. When Magdaleno refused to give Donaire a rematch even as he had promised a return engagement, the Filipino Flash decided to move up in weight. He previously held the WBA featherweight crown aside from the IBF flyweight, interim WBA superflyweight, WBC/WBO bantamweight and WBO/IBF/WBA superbantamweight titles.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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