Blog : Can Donaire help change image of ‘the devil?’By Marc Anthony Reyes
NEW YORK CITY – Lost amid the hype and hoopla of Nonito Donaire Jr.’s bout against Omar Narvaez, and the subsequent disappointment that followed the Filipino Flash’s victory was one question begging an answer: Has Nonito Donaire made a Faustian bargain?
There was that brief buzz around the Big Apple when the Filipino Flash showed up in the press conference for his title fight against Omar Narvaez on Thursday with “the devil” himself – Victor Conte. There was not a chance to chew on the strange pairing then as there is now.
When I first arrived here Monday, I immediately heard Donaire raving about his rest and recovery regimen which he talked more often than his high-altitude training with Mike Bazzel.
When I finally got around to ask who was concocting this elixir for him, he mentioned Victor’s name. His direct quote: “The controversial Victor Conte.”
Turns out their partnership was forged last year and has since spawned four sensational knockdowns: Manuel Vargas, Hernan Marquez, Vladimir Sidorenko and Fernando Montiel, one after another.
Donaire, too tall and powerful for the weight classes he was fighting in, has scored devastating KOs in the past – Vic Darchinyan, Moruti Mthalane and Raul Martinez to name a few victims. So I’m not saying he was suddenly handed a magic potion that put a spell on his gloves.
But Donaire swears Conte’s contribution provided a dramatic improvement in his performance.
“[Conte cooked up] a no-calorie shake that helps you retain the protein you lost and make your body recover faster,” said Donaire. “I feel great. Instead of training every day you can train three, four days a week and still stay in top shape.”
It’s supposed to heighten Donaire’s potential by allowing the body to quickly regain what was lost during intense workouts, thereby speeding up recovery.
“I think it’s new-school training. In boxing, I’m a relative newcomer, but I saw a real tendency and history of overtraining. They typically train twice a day, six days a week. They don’t allow for a real recovery. They just fail to understand, not every day is a green-light day. You have to have recovery workouts and recovery days off,” Conte told ESPN’s Michael Woods.
The problem lies with the name, however. Back in 2005, Conte was imprisoned for supplying banned performance-enhancing drugs to top-tier athletes. That highlighted a full-blown scandal that led to the downfall of sporting heroes like Barry Bonds, Marion Jones, to name a few.
And against the backdrop of performance enhancers shadowing a more popular Filipino ring icon, one would think Donaire would have avoided Conte like the plague.
But there they are. Partners currently sharing in each other’s successes. Of course, Donaire said he didn’t make the stupid mistake of not checking out Conte before taking him in as part of his team. And from what he’s seen, Donaire believes Conte deserves a break.
“If one person can catch people and clean it up, it’s Victor. You’ve got to give a person a second chance,” he told Woods.
And so here is Conte, hooking up with Donaire and vowing to come clean and rid the sporting world of illegal enhancers his time.
But will the public finally embrace Conte and his new-age methods of improving an athlete’s performance minus any shred of illegal drugs? And more importantly, once the Filipino public catches up on the partnership, how will it react to the fact that Donaire is pairing himself with a person known to boost his wards’ potential illegally? Will the partnership ever escape the scrutiny that followed a controversy which erupted from Conte’s California-based Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (Balco)?
While Donaire makes Conte look good, it doesn’t seem like Conte can help improve the image of a boxer on the verge of superstardom like Donaire.
There will be more victories, some in slam-bang knockout fashion, some in yawners like the Narvaez bout. But the pairing will slowly start sticking out like a sore thumb.
Especially since looming large as a backdrop to the Donaire-Conte duo is the shadow of doubt gnawing Manny Pacquiao.
Yes, Pacquiao has a different guy by his side in Alex Ariza, who interestingly has been trading barbs with Conte on Twitter. But as it is, Pacman has long been hounded by the issue of PED-use for quite sometime. Isn’t it what Floyd Mayweather Jr., has been using as an excuse not to get into the ring with Pacquiao?
Wether Conte will be good or bad for the Filipino Flash, nobody will know for sure. What may be certain is that once he starts demolishing opponents, Donaire could eventually find out how hard it is to shed off insinuations once they start coming in.
More from this Column:
- Boxing’s our best Olympic medal hope, and boy does it look dim now
- Execution is key for Viloria vs Mexican Segura
- Pacquiao vs Marquez: Third fight to decide who’s better
- Blog ► Donaire-Narvaez: How not to KO a little guy who barely threw
- Blog : Can Donaire help change image of ‘the devil?’
Beat Box Corner is an Inquirer sports blog edited by By Marc Anthony Reyes.The views stated here do not reflect those of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
Tags: Boxing , Fernando Montiel , Hernan Marquez , Manny Pacquiao , Manuel Vargas , Moruti Mthalane , Nonito Donaire Jr.'s , Omar Narvaez , Philippines , Raul Martinez , Sports , Vic Darchinyan , Victor Conte , Vladimir Sidorenko