‘Fresher’ Rodriguez believes he has the edge vs Donaire
MANILA, Philippines—Despite all of Nonito Donaire’s accolades, his upcoming foe Emmanuel Rodriguez believes he has all the advantages over the Filipino boxer.
Donaire is undoubtedly one of the greatest boxers of his generation and his stock and notoriety haven’t taken a hit even after his decision loss to Naoya Inoue.
But the younger Puerto Rican boxer, who is also former IBF World bantamweight champion, thinks the age gap is going to be a factor when it comes to their WBC World bantamweight title fight in December.
“He is not being looked down upon, but I have many advantages due to age. He made a great fight to Inoue, however he took too many punches. Donaire is a legend, but on December 19 he will have to deal with me,” said the 28-year-old Rodriguez.
“Donaire is a future Hall of Famer, without question. I am proud to be able to fight him and he deserves respect, but he’s received a lot of punishment during his career, he just turned 38 years old and the movements should not be the same.”
Donaire (4-0-6) is a four-division World champion and was an absolute monster during his peak from the late 2000s to early 2010s eventually winning Fighter of the Year honors in 2012.
The 38-year-old ring legend drifted, by his standards, when he lost to Guillermo Rigondeaux in 2013 resulting to his name losing a bit of a luster despite holding the WBA Super World featherweight and WBO World super bantamweight titles.
He won the WBA Super World bantamweight title in 2018 when he defeated Ryan Burnett, only losing the championship to Inoue in the finals of the World Boxing Super Series.
Rodriguez (19-1), meanwhile, has only lost to Inoue during the WBSS tournament in a bout that unified the WBA and IBF bantamweight titles.
Donaire was supposed to take on WBC champion Nordine Ouabaali but the latter tested positive for COVID-19 prompting the cancellation of the bout and the sanctioning body naming him “champion in recess.”
Ouabaali is still slated to fight the winner between Donaire and Rodriguez.
“I can’t afford to lose. Coming from a loss and fighting for a world title is not an opportunity given to just anyone. Mentally and physically I am fresher than Donaire,” said Rodriguez.
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