Donaire, Cuban mix it up
Unified title at stake SundayBy Marc Anthony Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
NEW YORK CITY—Nonito Donaire Jr. vowed to go “power for power, speed for speed” while Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux promised to do “more than I have done in the past.”
Donaire, the WBO champion, and Rigondeaux, the WBA king, collide Saturday (Sunday morning in Manila) in a 12-round world super bantamweight unification title fight at the iconic Radio City Music Hall here.
After tipping the scales at 121.6 pounds in Friday’s official weigh-in, Donaire said he’s ready to tangle with the Cuban. Rigondeaux, a stylish counterpuncher, weighed 121.5 then assured his fans that they will see a fighter who will be doing “more than I have done in the past.”
Top Rank boss Bob Arum predicts no abbreviated ending because “either guy will have difficulty knocking the other out because of their styles.”
Donaire’s trainer, Robert Garcia also sees a “tactical fight specially in the early rounds.”
This will be Donaire’s first bout after scooping all Fighter of the Year awards for his spectacular performance last year where he won all four of his fights, the last two ending in sensational knockouts. Donaire will also try to stretch his unbeaten streak to 31 fights over a span of 12 years.
For Rigondeaux, this is a major stepping stone to achieve his American dream after defecting from his homeland in 2009.
The 30-year-old Donaire (31-1-0 with 20 knockouts) is slightly favored due to his experience and explosive power.
Rigondeaux is 11-0 with 8 KOs, winning the WBA title after only seven fights via a sixth round KO last year over Rico Ramos.
Donaire is getting a career-high $1.25 million for the fight, while Rigondeaux is also getting a breakthrough paycheck of $750,000.
The third man in the ring is Benjy Esteves while the judges are Julie Lederman, Ton Schreck and John Stewart.