Nonito Donaire tells me he started getting too much conflicting advice in his corner during his last fight. It forced him to order Jonathan Penalosa to yield the floor to Robert Garcia and thereby establish the pecking order then and there.
There’s a least a nuance of equality in the training ranks. As Rachel Marcial Donaire put it Monday, “One’s body, one’s mind.” But that means Garcia gets the last word, which against Hernan “Tyson” Marquez last July meant Donaire turned aggressive and stopped the pesky underdog in the eighth round.
The addition of Garcia as Donaire’s braintrust in 2010 has escaped notice in many circles, especially in comparison to the attention Garcia received recently for training Antonio Margarito to fight Manny Pacquiao.
More than most fighters, Donaire commands his own corner. He still feels his father’s oppressive approach as trainer led to their parting in 2008, and he has been determined to be his own man. But a rudderless aspect to his August 2009 victory over Rafael Concepcion convinced him he needed someone like Garcia.
“I'm very versatile,” Donaire said Monday, “so whatever comes, I know I can devise a plan. And if I can't see, I know Robert will see what to do.”
Donaire staged two media events Monday to plug both his Dec. 4 bantamweight title bout in Anaheim against formidable journeyman Volodymyr Sydorynko and a long-awaited bout with Fernando Montiel in February (on HBO). First there was an afternoon teleconference and then there was an evening public workout that drew about 200 to the newly remodeled Undisputed Boxing Gym in San Carlos.
With nutritionist (to say the least!) Victor Conte on hand, there was a lot of discussion of diet and exercise at the media workout, and I’ll discuss some of that as the Sydorenko fight approaches, including what makes Penalosa’s role important.
The teleconference was more about Donaire’s coming to grips with his recent boxing doldrums, a litany of big fights falling through and having to make do. He hinted that he’s had trouble getting up for every match and was starting to question whether he can tap all that prodigious versatility when it’s most needed.
“I noticed he lacked that final precision,” Garcia said. “Coming into big fights, you have to have someone who's going to push you to that extra level. We still havent' had that real push, but I know the next two fights will change that.”
Donaire concurred emphatically. “I'm willing to push the limit this time,” he said. “I want to make a statement as to who Nonito Donaire really is in the ring.”