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Who’s minding Donaire’s age?


PhilBoxing.com





WBC bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire, Jr. turned 39 yesterday but who’s counting? He surely doesn’t act his age in the ring. Donaire is a stickler for discipline and how he moved down from featherweight to bantamweight in claiming another world title is a rare feat. Manny Pacquiao captured eight crowns in different weight divisions but never dropped down. In Donaire’s case, he stared Mother Nature straight in the eye and defied the adage that the body gets bigger with age. Believe it or not, Donaire recently confided that he might just scale even lower to fight for the superflyweight belt because the 115-pound strap is missing in his collection.

So far, Donaire has won the IBF/IBO flyweight, WBC/WBO/WBA bantamweight, IBF/WBO superbantamweight and WBA featherweight titles. He took the vacant WBA interim superflyweight crown in 2009 and defended it twice but never got the recognition as a full-fledged champion. No doubt, Donaire is a shoo-in as a Hall of Famer but it’s not only because of his achievements as a fighter. He’s also made a case for himself as an advocate of clean sports, batting for voluntary 24/7 anti-doping tests and as a role model outside the ring. Donaire’s a family man who never compromises his principles.

On Dec. 11, Donaire will be back in the ring to stake his crown against countryman Reymart Gaballo in a mandatory defense at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson City, Los Angeles county. His record is 41-6, with 27 KOs and a win will put him closer to a rematch with super WBA/IBF unified ruler Naoya Inoue or a showdown with WBO titleholder JohnRiel Casimero. Donaire would’ve fought Casimero last August but backed out of the duel after Quadro Alas’ camp posted a video disrespecting the Filipino Flash’s wife Rachel who is also his manager and trainer. In a statement, Donaire said he withdrew for two reasons----first, because Casimero did not return documentation for VADA testing on time and second, because he wouldn’t give Casimero the “platform” or “payday” after disrespecting his wife.

Donaire’s position drew praise from Boxing News (London) writer George Gigney. “Donaire should be applauded for his stance on drug testing,” wrote Gigney. “Donaire’s support of his wife is nothing short of pure class. Trash talk is a part of the business but hurling personal abuse at a fighter’s loved ones is abhorment.” Casimero has since apologized for crossing the line and is now in respectful terms with Donaire. “Donaire could have retired years ago and still have been a lock for the Hall of Fame but he continues to pursue greatness, all with a smile on his face,” continued Gigney. “He’s a breed that’s not often seen in boxing anymore, a fighter who will seek out the biggest challenges no matter the odds and who will treat any and all opponents with the utmost respect. There’s no pageantry with Donaire, he just wants to fight the best and it’s a joy to watch him do it.”


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


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