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Donaire recalls Pacman sparring


PhilBoxing.com




WBC bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire, Jr. will never forget his moments with Sen. Manny Pacquiao in Los Angeles in 2001 before the ring legend defeated Lehlo Ledwaba to wrest the IBF superbantamweight title. Donaire was only 18 with a 1-1 record as a pro.

“I was one of Manny’s sparring partners,” recalled Donaire. “I was staying in an apartment in Los Angeles and Manny was training at the Wild Card Gym. I also went running with him. That was before his first US fight against Ledwaba. I learned a lot from Manny who’s a fast and quick southpaw. We talked and he gave me advice. I was invited to a barbecue with Manny and we sang karaoke. I’ll always be grateful for those moments.”

Curiously, Donaire thought of retiring from the ring after absorbing his first loss in his second fight to Rosendo Sanchez in a five-round bout in Vallejo, California, in March 2001. Pacquiao arrived in the US with manager Rod Nazario to hook up with a trainer and promoter after his knockout win over Wethya Sakmuangklang in Cotabato in April. In June, Pacquiao was in Las Vegas to dethrone Ledwaba. Two weeks before, Donaire was back in the ring to decision Saul Santoyo in a four-rounder in Inglewood, California.

“The only time I thought of retiring after a loss was over 20 years ago in my second fight,” said Donaire. “The second time I thought of retiring was after I beat (Toshiaki) Nishioka in 2012 so it wasn’t after a loss. Maybe, it was because nawalaan na ako ng gana to keep me motivated.” But only two months later, Donaire returned to action and halted Jorge Arce in Houston. His focus was back and he hasn’t looked back since. There were defeats that came his way after the win over Arce to Guillermo Rigondeaux, Nicholas Walters, Jessie Magdaleno, Carl Frampton and Naoya Inoue. Still, Donaire never thought of retiring again, his fire fueled by the goal of becoming an undisputed world champion.


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


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