HOUSTON—Call it belief, superstition, or lucky charm, but Nonito Donaire always wants to be the first on the weight scale.
Donaire had his way again Friday during the official weigh-in for his WBO super bantamweight title defense against Mexican warrior Jorge Arce at the food court of PlasAmericas Mall here.
Expectedly, the Filipino Flash breezed through the procedure, even going under the limit at 121.5 pounds.
Then Arce came in, smiling and confident.
Arce’s expression, however, suddenly changed when he exceeded the 122-lb limit by a teeny-weeny bit. He stripped off his trunks and barely made the weight to the cheers of the predominantly Mexican crowd.
Donaire told Filipino sportswriters that he has never gone overweight as he eats sparingly.
Though he was 124 lb when he woke up, Donaire said it took him just 10 minutes of workout to shed the excess weight.
In contrast, Arce took a longer time. He had to work out in the morning before going to the official weigh-in, which was made livelier by a four-man Mariachi band and the presence of Mexican boxing greats Marco Antonio Barrera and Julio Chavez Sr., who did the television commentary.
Right after clearing the final obstacle for their 12-round battle and posing for photographers and television crews, Donaire and Arce gulped down energy-boosting drinks.
Then they went on an eating binge to recover whatever they lost in the course of training camp.
Later at the Hyatt Regency, Donaire said he ate lasagna with extra beef for lunch and would wolf down steak for dinner.
Unlike other boxers, who bulk up by over 10 lb, however, Donaire said he’d eat just enough to feel good.
“I wanna be around five or seven pounds maximum. You want to feel natural, not bloated,” said Donaire, who expects Arce to jump to 135 lb on fight night Saturday at Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets, here.
During his early years, Donaire said he could gain 15 lb and “felt slow and sluggish.”
Now on his 12th year as a pro, Donaire listens to what his body dictates.
With four fights this year, Donaire wants to taper down to three fights next year.
Reason: Donaire wants to take a break from boxing after tangling with Arce.
“Just one month totally away from boxing,” said Donaire. “I want to enjoy the holidays.”