Donaire favored over Argentina's Narvaez
MANILA, Philippines – With a promising career awaiting him in higher weight classes, world boxing champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr. vowed to go out with a bang in his last bout as a bantamweight.
Donaire will defend his World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight belts against Argentina’s Omar “El Huracan” Narvaez in New York on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
The fight will take place at the Madison Square Garden, venue of some of the most memorable boxing matches in history.
Donaire, who has been fighting in Los Angeles for the most part of his career, admitted feeling some pressure now that he will be fighting in such a big stage.
“A few weeks ago, I was feeling the pressure. I was thinking, ‘This is the Madison Square Garden, the East Coast, and all that,” he said in ESPN.com.
He, however, shrugged it off so he can better handle a “hurricane” like Narvaez, who hasn’t been beaten in 37 fights.
“My focus is to beat Narvaez, and that's pretty much it. I am focused to win. That's all I have in my mind and not to worry too much about the crowd and the venue. Our main focus right now is to win,” said Donaire.
‘I’m a very good boxer’
Coming off 2 spectacular victories over Vladimir Sidorenko and erstwhile bantamweight champion Fernando Montiel, Donaire is highly favored by many to win over the relatively unknown Narvaez.
But a confident Narvaez seemed unfazed with the adulation bestowed on Donaire.
"I'm a very good boxer. I know Nonito from a long time ago when he was a flyweight. I know his skills well," Narvaez said in Ringtv.com.
|Nonito Donaire Jr.
Nickname: The Filipino Flash
Weight: 116.25 lbs
Fernando Montiel (2nd round TKO)
Vladimir Sidorenko (4th round KO)
Nickname: El Huracan (The Hurricane)
Weight: 118 lbs
William Urina (unanimous decision)
Cesar Seda (unanimous decision)
Despite a 4-inch height disadvantage, the 5’3” Argentine believes he will leave the ring as the victor over Donaire (5'7").
"I don't think that he has ever fought against a person with my style and my skill level," said Narvaez.
"He will know my power in the ring. I have really prepared myself well for this fight," he added.
ABS-CBN will air the fight card on Sunday, starting 10:15 a.m. on Channel 2.
A boxing analyst earlier predicted that the Donaire-Narvaez fight could turn out to be a mismatch because of the boxers' difference in fighting skills.
Sean Morehouse of The Boxing Tribune admitted that Narvaez is "no scrub."
"Despite being a natural flyweight, he is a skilled fighter, undefeated, and would likely give the average bantamweight belt-holder trouble," he said.
The problem, according to Morehouse, is that Donaire is "light years beyond your average bantamweight champion."
"His main advantage comes from a freakish ability to make a weight that seems unnatural considering his frame. Donaire is so much stronger than his opponents at 118 pounds," Morehouse said.
Donaire said he’s prepared for whatever tactic Narvaez might employ.
“If Narvaez becomes more defensive, we're going to break his shell and break his barriers, but if he tries to be more offensive, I am ready to go and fight with him. Whatever he gives me, we'll adjust to it,” he said.
Donaire said he may shoot for an early knockout but he’s also prepared to go the full distance.
“If we can take him out as early as the first round, we will. But if it goes to 12 rounds, we are also ready for a 12-round fight.”
ABS-CBN will air the Donaire vs Narvaez fight card on Sunday, starting 10:15 a.m. on Channel 2.