Nonito Donaire ascended into the top 10 in boxing’s pound-for-pound ratings in 2009, but the Bay Area 115-pounder would be the first to tell you it was a disappointing year for him. He fought only twice, and neither bout was against Fernando Montiel, Vic Darchinyan or any of the other big names he wanted.
His Feb. 13 date with journeyman Gerson Guerrero is equally disappointing, but that isn’t Donaire’s fault.
Nobody of note except Israel Vasquez, who came back from a long layoff because of injuries last fall, has indicated any eagerness to fight Donaire, and Vasquez is currently two weight divisions above Nonito.
So this rebuttal to a rather scurrilous report, which Team Donaire asked me and others to reprint Thursday, pretty much expresses a lot of things I’ve said before and a few things Nonito and wife Rachel wanted to get off their chests.
I couldn’t find an online link, so here’s the entire rebuttal, with minor editing from me:
Nonito Donaire Jr. smiled last night as his wife placed a laptop on the table presenting the headline, “Nonito Donaire Jr got ‘no balls’ to fight big names, says one promoter.”
The article, written by Simeon Vergara, features a nameless promoter who accuses Nonito of ducking high-quality opponents. It also quoted Israel Vasquez calling out Donaire and going as far as pondering whether Nonito’s wife has something to do with the matchup with Gerson Guerrero set for Feb. 13 in Las Vegas.
It is really sad to see that this ‘writer’ had not done his proper research before reporting on such a topic.
Nonito Donaire Jr, No. 6 on Ring Magazine’s pound for pound list, and WBA interim super-flyweight champion, has been quoted numerous times calling out big names in and around his weight division.
As a flyweight, after capturing the IBF and IBO belts from Vic Darchinyan, he called out Japan’s Naito and Sakata in hopes to unify the titles. But it never materialized. Moving up to super-flyweight his dreams are the same: capture all the titles and move up in weight.
Trying to break into the higher weight, Nonito served challenges to the likes of Montiel and Jorge Arce, and he even welcomed a rematch with Darchinyan. He welcomed, rolled out the red carpet even, with a sign that read, “Come one, Come all!” so he could accomplish his goals and prove he deserves to be in the pound-for-pound rankings. But alas, no one answered.
Nonito smiled like a little boy when he read Israel Vasquez was calling him out. “I’m honored, you know? I mean, growing up in boxing I never thought my name would be on the tongues of top named fighters. I hear my name here and there and it gets me going. I love the challenge.”
Nonito has been managed by Cameron Dunkin since 2005 and speaks nothing but praises of his current manager. “Cameron looks out for me. I put all my trust in him as far as my career goes. Whatever he decides, I go with.”
Cameron has the same sentiment about his fighter. “Nonito is a great fighter. He’s had a wish list for a while now of fighters he wanted to meet in the ring. Nonito is ready to fight anyone I put in front of him. You’ll never hear Nonito back down. I guarantee it.”
When we talked to Rachel, we asked her why she selected Gerson Guerrero as Nonito’s next opponent. She couldn’t stop laughing. “That isn’t my job. I’m not his manager, Cameron is. You know what my job is? Waking up at 5 a.m., picking up the sparring opponents for jogging, bringing them back to the house, returning them to the hotel, and doing that whole routing for afternoon practice. I do the laundry, clean, grocery, whatever he needs me to do. But I guarantee you that it has nothing to do with boxing.”
What about barring Nonito from media contacts? “Really? I mean if he’s sleeping, I’m not waking him up, if that’s what you mean. I think its rude for those who ask me to wake him up for an interview. But ask Mario Serrano who had an scheduled interview with Nonito yesterday or Ronnie Nathanielz, Quinito Henson — who are halfway across the world and yet seem to still get interviews. Who says this stuff anyway?”
When we told her it was a nameless promoter, she laughed again. “Nameless? As in nonexistent or scared? It’s easy to talk when they hide behind the shadows instead of coming out and saying what they need to say to your face. I would have respected them more if an actual person stood behind his name.”
Nonito is never shocked by his wife’s bluntness. “She’s a strong-willed woman. I love her for that. She is a blessing in my life and knows her place by my side. She doesn’t interfere with my boxing, no matter what people think they know. And as far as what this ‘writer’ thinks he knows about the distance with my dad, he is blind enough not to see my dedicated fight to him, and my persistence to show him respect by mano-ing him every time I see him regardless of our different views. He is still my dad.”
Apparently hitting a soft topic, Nonito changes his tone. “Well wouldn’t it be funny for me to call out a 105-pounder like Donnie Nietes? You’d say it’s a 10-pound difference, right? Same with me and Israel Vasquez. He’s 122 pounds. And as much as I am flattered that he called me out, I hope after I climb the weights and the contract is in front of him, he doesn’t hesitate to sign it.”