This is it, my last dance at 118, Nonito Donaire told media on a Thursday conference call ahead of his Oct. 22 scrap with 35-0-1 Argentine Omar Narvaez at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in NYC.
The Filipino born slugger, who lives in California, said he isn't looking past Narvaez, long a fly and super fly titlist, but one who doesn't possess the power, in all likelihood, to keep Donaire off of him.
Promoter Bob Arum is building Donaire into a superstar, he hopes, and Arum said he is happy to let East Coast Filipino fans get a look at the banger. Arum said they are on their way to selling out the 4,500 seat Theater. "I expect as he rises 122 to 126, maybe above, he will become major superstar in the sport."
Donaire said he was looking forward to doing MSG proud, and said he's looked at many a tape of guys who excelled at MSG, the Sugar Ray Robinsons and Carmen Basilios.
Donaire (26-1 with 18 KOs) has an aura right now which indicates he feels like he is operating at another level than his foes. He said on the call he sees a few steps ahead of other guys, and boasted that he told his whole crew what he was going to do to Fernando Montiel back in February. His left hook, thrown as Montiel landed a lazy right, laid out the Mexican, who somehow managed to get up, and take a few more blows before ref Russell Mora stopped the scrap in round two. Trainer Robert Garcia said that even top notch fighters don't always have that same gift, to know what the foe will do, like Donaire does. He said, laughing, that people he knows made money betting correctly on the Montiel fight, because Donaire predicted the round. Arum called the left hook "one of the most devastating punches I've seen," and Donaire said he likes to be in the vein of Mike Tyson, who everyone knew could end the night with a single blow.
Arum ended the call on a light note. He was apprised that Mustafa Hamsho, the Syrian ex middleweight standout, will meet up with Donaire on Saturday, at Gleason's Gym, for an open workout. Arum worked with Hamsho, said he liked him, and recalled that the boxer opened up a restaurant in NYC after he left the ring. "You got to make weight, stay away from the falafel and hummus," a chuckling Arum warned Donaire.
TSS Universe, weigh in. Is Donaire a superstar in waiting, or merely an exciting slugger who will not be able to achieve mega-marquee status, because of his small stature, or something else?