The romance hasnt always been in bloom. Nonito Donaire and boxing has been something of a rocky pairing.

Hes stepped away a few times, said hell with it, Ill go get a square job.

That happens every so often when a fighter and a father get too inter-dependent. It happened in this case, when Donaires dad Nonito Sr and his kid just plain rubbed each other raw. It was said that the rubbing began, and worsened, when Nonitos lady got hold of his ear. Rachelle, they said, stuck in her nose in business, and upset a delicate balance of power. The rubbing probably began earlier, much, much earlier. Its inevitable when you get dad trying to wear multiple hats: father, trainer, employee.

The Donaires went separate ways after Junior beat Moruti Mthalane in Nov. 2008, and the kid has been overseen by Jonathan Penalosa since then. With this fight, hell be cornered by Robert Garcia, of I wasnt making fun of Freddies Parkinsons fame.

On a conference call Monday to hype his Dec. 4 showdown with 34 year-old Voly Sidorenko, the slick but weak hitting ex bantam champ from the Ukraine, Donaire made the somewhat startling admission that in fact, hes never been motivated properly for a fight, until now. Im really motivated, Ive never been motivated in my fights, he told TSS. Ive been an off and on guy. He tossed a veiled shot at his dad, and complimented Garcia, when he said that hes never had people tell me I can do it.

Hes 24-1, and the WBA bantam champ, without being supercharged to get it done, imagine what he might be able to do when correctly amped. So, one wonders, why now? What has changed? A February 19 date in Las Vegas with Fernando Montiel is the game changer, he said. So when in the past he hasnt pushed himself to the limit, he said, now he has been forcing himself to expend the gallons of sweat necessary to make the networks notice him, and put him on their slate.

Making 118 is no barefoot walk in the park for the Cali based Filipino, who turned 28 on November 16. He said hes ten pounds over right now, but foresees no fatal hurdle to satisfying the scale. A win on Dec. 4, and then one over the 43-2 Mexican Montiel WBC, WBO bantam champ), done in pleasing fashion, but will bump Donaire, unbeaten since his second pro bout, in March 2001, higher up the pound for pound lists.

TSS U, motivation is sort of hard to turn up. It isnt like a water faucet. Is it possible that Donaire reverts to his lax ways, overlooks the pillow fisted Sidorenko? Or has he truly turned a corner, had a fire lit underneath him, and is now ready to show the world what a truly motivated Filipino flash is capable of?