Nonito Donaire goes by the nickname the “Filipino Flash” but he’s more than just flash, he could possibly be the most deadly puncher in the boxing world today. But he won’t tell you that.
“I am always thankful for the blessings God has given me,” Donaire, 28, said.
Northern California’s dynamic Donaire (26-1, 18 KOs) defends the WBO and WBC bantamweight titles against Argentina’s never-been-beaten Omar Narvaez (35-0-2, 19 KOs) on Saturday Oct. 22, at Madison Square Garden’s WaMu Theater. The Top Rank fight will be televised on HBO along with Mikey Garcia’s fight with Juan Carlos Martinez.
Inch for inch Donaire and all 68 inches of his wire thin body frame can generate enough crackling power to deliver a knockout with frightening force. Since childhood the Filipino blaster has been exorcising consciousness from most of his opponents.
“Even in the amateurs he was knocking out guys,” said Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, a friend of Donaire who knows a thing or two about knockouts. “He’s always had that power.”
Usually one-punch knockout power is reserved for the big guys like heavyweights Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko. But Donaire doesn’t need weight to generate power, his speed, timing and leverage on his punches are enough to render even the most granite jawed fighter senseless. Take his win over Mexico’s Fernando Montiel, a knockout puncher in his own right.
“I’ve been around a long time and that was one of the most devastating punches I have ever seen,” said Arum. “He caved in Montiel’s face. It was scary and it demonstrates to me that not only is Nonito a good boxer but he has lethal power in his hands and it’s going to be tough for anyone to beat him.”
Donaire will be facing a boxing cutie in Narvaez, a former flyweight and junior bantamweight world champion. At age 36, the Argentine has been able to circumvent defeat with mixture of clever movement, precise punching and overall boxing intelligence.
Will that be enough against a fighter like Donaire, who may be one of the sport’s best punchers since Puerto Rico’s Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez?
“The cannon that Nonito has, not even all of the elite fighters have it. You can be an elite fighter and not have that cannon,” said Robert Garcia, who trains Donaire.
Wins over Vic Darchinyan, Luis Maldonado and Raul Martinez were eye openers but Donaire is not satisfied and eagerly seeks to mount a campaign at the heavier and more lucrative weight classes.
“Narvaez is a credible fighter. He is a champion and a legend in Argentina,” said Donaire, 28, who will be making the first and last defense of the bantamweight world championship. “We want to be healthy and be at our best so 122 we are looking forward to.”
Beating legends is part of Donaire’s plan.
“I always believe my power is enough to change the fight regardless of how many rounds it is. I have said it over and over that the most satisfying victory is a knockout victory,” says Donaire. “But if I don’t get it, I am ready for 12 rounds. I train for 24 rounds like it’s nothing so we are always ready for the longest it can be or the shortest it can be.”
In the semi-main event Mikey Garcia (26-0, 22 KOs) will precede Donaire in the Manhattan fight card when he faces Mexico’s Juan Carlos Martinez (19-12-1, 7 KOs) in a featherweight bout set for 10 rounds.
“It my first time ever in New York and I’m excited,” said Garcia, who was raised in Oxnard and recently moved to Riverside nearly two years ago. “I almost visited it a year ago but something came up and I had to cancel my flight.”
Garcia plans to be the last one standing when he fights Martinez.
Unlike Donaire, whose blinding speed and movement results in quick, flashy knockouts, Garcia is more the blue collar worker who steadily moves forward looking for weaknesses before dismantling his opponents. He’s like a wrecking ball hitting strategic spots until the entire building collapses.
“Donaire has good hand speed and throws four-punch combinations,” explains Garcia, whose brother Robert Garcia trains Donaire. “I stick to one or two punches at a time.”
No matter, the end result is usually a knockout for either Donaire or Garcia.
Martinez’s last fight was a split decision win over Filipino featherweight contender Bernabe Concepcion. He was not supposed to win but according to experts but the Mexican veteran used his vast experience in the featherweight showdown. His reward is a match with Garcia.
“I don’t overlook him,” says Garcia, who is the number one featherweight contender in the world. “He’s (Martinez) fought all of the tough guys.”
Fights on television
Fri. Showtime, 11 p.m., Edwin Rodriguez (19-0) vs. Will Rosinsky (14-0).
Fri. Telefutura, 11:30 p.m., Fidel Maldonado (11-0) vs. Eric Cruz (12-7-3).
Fri. HBO, 7:30 p.m. Nonito Donaire (26-1) vs. Omar Narvaez (35-0-2).
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?