By Chris Cella
Following a stellar 2012 calendar year in which he successfully defended his WBO junior featherweight belt four times, Fighter of the Year Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire (31-1, 20 KO) will make his 2013 debut in the Big Apple on Saturday, April 13.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
Live from the Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, Donaire will collide and put his title on the line against former two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KO). The fight will be televised on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 11 p.m. Eastern.
Under the tutelage of his Robert Garcia—who was named the 2012 trainer of the year—Donaire rolled through his opponents last year in securing himself as one of the top five pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Over the last 12 years Donaire has won 30 consecutive fights, with 11 of his last 15 victories coming by way of knockout. He will look to carry his dominating ways over into 2013 as he meets up with Rigondeaux.
Having an exceptional amateur career—having won the gold medals in both the 2000 and 2004 Olympic games—Rigondeaux turned pro in 2009, and has quickly soared up the rankings to earn this shot against Donaire.
Despite having less fights than Donaire has years as a pro, is anxious for this big opportunity.
“I’d like to thank the promoters and HBO for putting this fight together I think this is what the world wants to see the Top-Two boxers in the world in this weight class,” said Rigondeaux. “This is what I came to America for. I decided to go with my old trainer Pedro Luis Diaz who helped me win two Olympic gold medals. Jorge Rubio is a great trainer he did nothing wrong I just thought for this fight I would go back to do the type of training that I’ve never done in this country. I feel stronger than ever. I think this will be a great battle Nonito is one of the top boxers in the world and a gentleman. I’m looking forward to getting in the ring with him. We are both at the peak of our careers. On April 13th the world will witness one of the greatest boxing exhibitions they’ve ever seen.”
Quietly, Donaire simply responded, “See you on April 13, Rigondeaux.”
Rigondeaux may be one of the most formidable opponents and toughest challenges Donaire has met in recent fights, and despite his lack of experience inside the ropes, he will come with a force to strip away the belt form the Filipino superstar.
Quotes from Press Conf:
Nonito Donaire: I had four fights on HBO last year and won (Boxing Writers Association of America) Fighter-of-the-Year. It is incredible and I am very excited to be here. I respect Rigondeaux’s accomplishments. I train hard and I know he trains hard and on April 13 we will find out who is best. I still think Rigondeaux needs more experience but it’s the fight, everyone wants to see it and it will be a great fight. I think the best of Rigondeaux is yet to come, and his best just may be on April 13. When I fought Narvaez, he had all the experience, but he still ran – he didn’t want to be in there to engage. We know Rigondeaux won two Gold Medals and you can’t be not that good to do that. We know he has natural talent.
The toughest guy I have fought so far I think is Nishioka. Nishioka made me bring all my cards out. I had to jab. I had to move. I had to set him up. I had to miss his straight. It was a long fight and it was exhausting. The Vazquez fight and the Mathebula fight I just threw punches and didn’t really need to use my head much. The Nishioka fight was mentally draining.
The Rigondeaux camp is saying they are going to go after me and make it exciting. They say they are going to use power and pressure me and what-not, so we’ll see. From Darchinyan untill now, I have heard it all. I am pretty sure he’ll be better than I expect, so we are bringing everything that we got.
It’s an honor to be fighting at Radio City – to be a part of it, with what Roy did in there, and now me fighting in there. We are all happy and excited to be fighting in this venue.
Guillermo Rigondeaux: I was kind of worried that this fight was going to fall apart. Thank God everything worked out and the April 13 fight against Nonito Donaire is confirmed and we move on. So come out to Radio City Music Hall and watch. Donaire will not be fighting a guy that is moving backwards. He will have to deal with all of my punches and he’ll have to deal with my power. It will be the greatest night of boxing you will have ever seen.