While much of the talk about next week’s HBO Boxing After Dark has focused on the co-feature between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado, here’s a reminder of how is in the main event; top 5 pound for pound and unified super bantamweight champion, Filipino superstar Nonito Donaire. In case you forgot, he is the main event and in case you forgot he’s facing a veteran and former WBC super bantamweight champion, Toshiaki Nishioka of Japan.
Nishioka will be Donaire’s most tested opponent at 122. Although Nishioka is coming off a year plus long layoff since he won the title in a bout against Rafael Marquez. Donaire feels the rest will benefit the 36 year old southpaw, Nishioka. “When you get to that age, rest is never bad—especially being the veteran that he is, I’m sure he can get back really fast, so we’re prepared for his very best,” stated Donaire.
Donaire last 3 recent performances were all wins but weren’t the amazing knockout that many have come to expect from Donaire. In this camp, Donaire said he was righted the ship, especially when it came to him looking for that one big punch for the knockout. “It was experimental. I was getting to know myself more. We were relying on power and not speed.”
Speed creates the unexpected punches and in boxing the one’s you don’t see coming are the ones that do the most damage. That’s where Donaire is looking to return. “I’m going back to the old Nonito Donaire, my old style. When the KO comes, it comes. With my boxing ability and my speed, we will create those KO’s. My power will be much more dominant when the punches land unexpectedly,” explained Donaire.
The move in weight might be a reason for the power not translating. The fighters at 122 lbs are bigger and can take a bigger punch. However, Donaire feels that executing that speed game plan will only yield those great results. “The guy’s I’m fighting are world champions, they are bigger guys. I’m sparring with lightweights and super lightweights and in camp I’m patient and if I do what I do in the fight like I’m doing in camp, we’ll be ok. But with Nishioka we can’t let our guards down.” His trainer Robert Garcia concurs and isn’t pushing or asking for the knockout, just to follow the plan and do what he’s done in training.
On the same night, the before mentioned fight of the year might take place before the main event. Should that happen, even if Donaire has a knockout, the talk of the town might be the Rios-Alvarado war. When asked if there was any added pressure to score that highlight reel KO to follow up Rios-Alvarado, Donaire responded by saying, “I’ll be watching that fight too (laughing). No there’s no pressure. My fights usually don’t go like that (Rios-Alvarado), blood and guts; that’s fight of the year stuff. There’s no pressure. I’m just going to be myself, the old Nonito.”