By Jackie Kallen
In romance, there is always “the one who got away.” Sometimes in boxing management, the same thing applies. In my case, Nonito Donaire is that one fighter who I miss the most.
Back in 2001, I managed Nonito and his brother Glenn. Glenn was already 2-0 when Nonito made his pro debut against Jose Lazaro at the Hollywood Park Casino and scored a first-round KO. Glenn stopped Jose Antonio Rico in the second round on the same card.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
In a crazy 5-round fight in Vallejo, CA the next month, Nonito lost a decision to Rosendo Sanchez, who retired a couple of months later. Nonito has not tasted defeat ever since. In 31 fights and 179 total rounds in the ring, he has been close to perfect. Everyone from 112 pounds to 121 pounds has tried to dethrone him. It hasn’t happened yet.
Along the way, my then-partner in the management contract defaulted on our deal and we lost the Donaire brothers. Enter the very capable Cameron Dunkin and the rest is a happy tale. Though I lost one of the best boxers I have ever had the pleasure of working with, I could not be prouder of him. He has lived up to every hope and dream I ever had for him. Kudos to Cameron.
On Saturday night in Texas, Nonito–now 30–will face Jorge Arce for the WBO super bantamweight title. The 33 year old challenger from Mexico is a veteran of 70 fights. He has won 61 of them and has KOed over half of the men he faced. Turning pro at 11 pounds, he has had some amazingly memorable title fights and has accumulated many belts–WBO, WBC, WBA and IBF.
For Nonito. this is quite a challenge. Arce has already fought three times this year. He won twice. The third was ruled a NC after an accidental foul against Arce. Donaire has also fought three times this year–winning them all, of course.
Will Arce be the man to beat Nonito Donaire? Their height is similar, although Nonito is an inch taller and has a two-inch advantage in reach. Both have similar punching power. Both fighters are orthodox boxers and Donaire is only three years younger.
I have to go with Nonito, though. Not just because I turned him pro and think he’s one of the best P4P boxers in the world, but because I still see him as unbeatable.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen