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Donaire lays own odds for Belfast bout

Oddsmakers have installed Northern Ireland’s Carl Frampton a 6-1 favorite to beat Nonito Donaire, Jr. in their 12-round fight for the interim WBO featherweight title in Belfast on April 21 but the Filipino Flash isn’t buying the betting line and said he has a 70 percent chance of claiming the crown.

“I don’t even think it’s a 50-50 fight,” Donaire told The Star before flying out of Las Vegas to set up camp in Belfast last Friday. “I’m confident of beating Frampton. I’ve trained hard for this fight and I’m in the best shape of my life. I’ve got a good feeling about this. I figure my chances are 70 percent to win.”

The betting odds are so lopsided that a $600 wager on Frampton to win will earn only $100. Oddsmakers are also staking a high probability that the fight will go the distance. But Donaire said he’s ready to do what it takes to beat Frampton in his hometown. A key adjustment in his preparation was recruiting former WBA superbantamweight champion Clarence (Bones) Adams to work the mitts. Adams, 43, will make his debut in Donaire’s corner for the bout. The others in the corner cast are Donaire’s wife Rachel, conditioning coach Mike Bazzel and sports chiropractor Dr. Cameron Fort.

Donaire started training in Adams’ gym with Cuban Ismael Salas in Spring Valley, two miles west of the Las Vegas strip, for the Jesse Magdaleno fight in 2016. But Adams wasn’t involved in Donaire’s workouts at the time. Salas and another Cuban Joel Casamayor often bring fighters to train in Adams’ facility. Others who’ve worked out in Adams’ gym include WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares, former world titlists Beibut Shumenov and Rances Barthelemy and even rapper Snoop Dogg. Donaire’s association with Salas lasted only one fight which he lost to Magdaleno on points. Salas is now based in London where he trains former WBA/WBC/WBO cruiserweight and former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye.

“Bones gives me a good visual of Frampton,” said Donaire. “He’s got the same size and build as Frampton so when we do mitts, it’s a nice simulation. I’ve watched three or four of Frampton’s fights. I’ve studied his movements in both the Leo Santa Cruz fights where he won once and lost once. I’ve also studied his last fight against (Horacio) Garcia who knocked him down in the seventh round. Frampton is both a boxer and puncher. I’m open to whatever style he uses. My strategy will depend on what defense he shows me. I can be aggressive or patient. I can break him down bit by bit or go on the attack right away. I’ll use a variety of styles.”

Both Donaire and Frampton were once voted Fighter of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America. Donaire earned the award in 2012 and Frampton in 2016. They’re in the crossroads of their careers so losing isn’t an option at this stage. Donaire, 35, has held world titles in five divisions and is itching to get back on the throne. Frampton, 31, is a former IBF superbantamweight and WBA featherweight champion who has lost only once since turning pro in 2009.

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

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