Donaire eyes Quigg, bright future
The future remains bright for the ‘Filipino Flash’. Five-weight champion Nonito Donaire has returned to 122lbs after a testing foray in the featherweight division and looked revitalized in his gym workouts at the Venetian Macao with that vaunted, fight-ending power still in evidence.
Donaire’s career achievements make bewildering reading – even to the fighter himself – and defied his early, modest expectations. Five division world champion, 'Fighter of the Year 2012', 10 consecutive world champions faced in title bouts – the Filipino has never been one to shirk a challenge to reach for the stars.
“Even thinking about it now, it still seems impossible. It feels surreal at this moment, even though I’ve lived it,” the cordial Donaire told Boxing Monthly. “I never dreamed in a thousand years I would be this successful in boxing.
“I grew up and people made fun of me. People bullied me and I was always told by everyone, including my family, that I was just going to maybe reach mediocre. But I refused and that’s something as a fighter, as a child [has meant] I've wanted to prove something.
“Throughout time, I created something. I let the potential that God has given me out there. Sometimes life can look sad and bad, but it can push you. Even now I still think it’s impossible for me to reach [the top] but I’m still here.”
Should, as expected, Donaire defeat Frenchman Anthony Settoul at the Cotai Arena on Saturday, then an intriguing clash with WBA super-bantamweight champion Scott Quigg is looking increasingly likely with England and even Dubai mentioned as possible venues [Quigg must first overcome tough Spaniard Kiko Martinez in Manchester, also on Saturday].
“I haven’t seen Scott Quigg fight, but I’ve heard a lot about him,” said Donaire, 34-3 (22 KOs), who doesn’t tend to study rival fighters. “I know my manager Cameron Dunkin and his manager have talked and they are trying to make that fight and that would be amazing.
“I don’t care where it is. I know that Top Rank [Donaire's promoter] is going to try to make it on neutral ground, but it doesn’t matter to me. I would love to go out to England or Britain. I’ve always wanted to do that and hopefully I can. My main focus would be Scott Quigg [wherever the venue].”
First up is the unheralded Settoul, 20-3 (8 KOs), with Donaire acutely aware that his 28-year-old opponent comes with nothing to lose and everything to gain.
“He’s going to be hungry when he comes in there,” said Donaire, who previously won the WBA featherweight title in Macao via fifth round technical decision after suffering a terrible cut against Simpiwe Vetyeka. “We’ve worked hard though and I think we’ve created a gameplan that is suitable for this fight. I like the fact that I am fighting here with a lot of fans who will get to see me. It was an unfortunate fight against Vetyeka because I didn’t get to showcase anything and it led to a lot of [personal] disappointment. The fans weren’t disappointed but I want to give them a little bit more of what I can do and hopefully I can do that for this fight.
“It’s crazy but I always think that way. I always think of other people in what I do. I go out there to entertain. It’s how much I can make people happy, for me. The fans are very important to me.”
Nonito Donaire-Anthony Settoul, as well as Jose Ramírez's bout with Ryusei Yoshida, will be televised to the U.S, via same-day delay, on Solo Boxeo Tecate on UniMás, beginning at 11pm ET/PT.
Victory at the Venetian will be broadcast live on BoxNation in the UK from 1.30pm.
Yang-Cuenca will be streamed live in the US on Toprank.tv from 6am ET with most of the undercard.