Before training camp, Nonito Donaire helps give away 100 homes in Iloilo
MANILA, Philippines – Nonito Donaire Jr wasn't in the Philippines for very long, but he made a special detour out to Iloilo on behalf of the Greg Secker Foundation.
Donaire arrived on Wednesday, January 3, and dropped by the province on Friday, January 5, assisting in the turnover of 100 homes for Typhoon Yolanda survivors in the town of Lemery (about two hours from Iloilo City), before flying back to the United States on Saturday night, January 6.
He had linked up with Secker through a mutual friend after a similar mission in 2009 to help those affected by Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana), and he accepted an invitation from the philanthropist to be a guest speaker in Iloilo.
"It was the same mind, same heart, and we just wanted to help," said Donaire, a former 4-division world champion, while at NAIA.
"They don't really see celebrities who go out there. It was in the far place from the main cities, they didn't have much out there and it was the last place a celebrity would come in. They were able to see that. It was incredible, they were ecstatic."
The reason for Donaire's swift return to the US is his next fight, scheduled for April 21 against Carl Frampton at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Frampton (24-1, 14 knockouts) was the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) Fighter of the Year in 2016, an award Donaire won for 2012, and like Donaire, is trying to rebuild his standing after losing his WBA featherweight title and undefeated record by majority decision in a rematch against Leo Santa Cruz in January 2017.
Donaire (38-4, 24 KOs) said that, while Frampton's promoter Frank Warren has already announced the fight, paperwork to finalize the bout is still being processed. That hasn't stopped Donaire from training for the bout, and he expects to open camp on Monday, January 8, in Las Vegas with the same team led by long-time ally Michael Bazzell and his wife Rachel.
He said he'll decide whether to bring someone in to help take preparations "to the next level" or to "maintain that same intimate-type setting where focus is very valuable."
Despite looking subpar in his last outing, a 10-round unanimous decision over Horacio Garcia in November in which Frampton was ruled knocked down in the seventh, Frampton remains a big name in the sport, and Donaire is hoping that a win can rejuvenate his own career. Donaire last fought in September, winning a unanimous decision over Ruben Garcia Hernandez, his first fight since signing with Richard Schaefer's Ringstar Sports after splitting with Top Rank following his points loss to Jessie Magdaleno the year prior.
"I've been wanting this fight for a long time. I’ve always been that type of guy that wants to fight everybody," said Donaire, who, at 35, is about 4 years older than Frampton.
"I see his style, my style, somewhat similar, we both have power, we both can brawl, we can box, we can do all that stuff. I think this is going to be a very interesting fight and I'm very excited for it."
Donaire said he hadn't seen Frampton's last fight yet, and wasn't too concerned about not being able to get rid of his own opponent in his last fight, calling it an "experimental type of fight."
"It didn't feel like I was slow or lacking, I was just fighting a different game plan. It's about patience now. If I have to go out, it'd have to be someone like Carl Frampton," said Donaire.
"What we did in that fight is to test my speed, test my reflexes, and all of that was on point. I felt my jab was working really well, my lateral movement was working really well. One thing that we need to work on is utilizing more power when I'm moving."
As he nears his 17th year as a professional, Donaire said he is focused on continuing in the sport for years to come.
"I think I have a lot of years ahead of me," said Donaire. "I've fought well in the past, but I've never pushed myself to the limit of anything. I've been smart and that's something I've always had, but now pushing it to the next level, you'll see the potential that I have again."
Hanging with TJP
Donaire, known as the Filipino Flash, recently linked up with Fil-Am Flash and World Wrestling Entertainment performer TJ Perkins, posing together for a photo on Twitter alongside former WBO welterweight titleholder Jessie Vargas.
When #family comes out to support #family ! Amazing set by @djcla Thank you always for the energy and hospitality. Amazing suite at #Mirage @tradezby . And the fun and laughs with @JVargasBoxing @forkandknifekitchen @Knockout_Queen @jessicaliliana_v @MegaTJP pic.twitter.com/ghTLowoL9Z— Nonito Donaire (@filipinoflash) December 22, 2017
Perkins and Donaire bonded over their mutual journeys back to championship gold at one of the Donaires' parties shortly before Christmas. Perkins reached the summit in 2016 when he won the WWE's Cruiserweight Classic to inaugurate their belt, but has been mostly on the mid-card of the 205 Live show since then. He's since begun campaigning for a shot at the Intercontinental Championship through social media with the hashtag #TJPforICTitle.
"It's about getting back the belt, the Filipino Flash and [Manny] Pacquiao came back… 'this is not the end' kind of thing. We're gonna go on to something bigger. That's pretty much what it was," said Donaire.
"He's a pretty cool dude. Me and him, we've gotten to a level where, we're friends now so I'll support him, he'll support me on that level how I was with Dave [Batista]. We support each other." – Rappler.com