Donaire pulverizes foe, eyes Montiel next
By Sid Ventura
For Yahoo! Southeast Asia
Nonito Donaire, Jr. practically toyed with Ukrainian Wladimir Sidorenko before knocking out his opponent in the fourth round of their bantamweight bout to capture the World Boxing Association (WBA) Interim title and the World Boxing Council Intercontinental Americas crown in Anaheim Sunday morning in Manila.
Donaire used his three-inch height and reach advantage to the hilt and dominated the match from the opening bell, flooring Sidorenko near the end of the first round with a left uppercut and right hook. The Ukrainian, a former Olympic bronze medalist, showed some resiliency in the second round, tagging Donaire with a solid right, but such highlights were too few and far between for the overmatched former WBA bantamweight champion.
In the third round, Donaire began moving around more and repeatedly tagged Sidorenko with combinations. A left hook at the 2:02 mark sent Sidorenko to the canvas a second time, and by the end of the round, his face was a bloodied mess. Donaire continued his onslaught in the fourth, and when a left hook, right straight combination found its mark, Sidorenko staggered back and took a knee. The referee counted until five before waiving off the fight at the 1:48 mark.
The rousing win raised Donaire’s record to 24-1 with 17 knockouts, while Sidorenko was knocked out for the first time in his career and saw his record dip to 22-3-2. Donaire is now in line to challenge Fernando Montiel, the reigning WBC and WBO bantamweight titlist, on February 19, assuming Montiel beats Eduardo Garcia next week.
It was the Filipino Flash’s first bout at 118 pounds, and he looked comfortable at the new weight level. Afterwards he said he wanted to win badly to secure the February 19 showdown. “I’m really, really motivated for this fight because I wanted to win and go for Montiel,” he declared during the post-fight interview.
Donaire trained for the bout under the guidance of Robert Garcia, the trainer insisted on letting Antonio Margarito finish his bout against Manny Pacquiao last month despite absorbing a heavy beating. In this fight, though, Garcia had his ward in full command.
“Actually I wanted to throw all kinds of stuff but Robert told me, ‘Relax, you got him. Stay back to what you know best, do not be wild,’’’ Donaire said. “I wanted to throw a lot of punches. As you can see, there were some combinations that I threw in there, but I felt I could take him out with just one punch at any time and that’s what I tried to do.”
Donaire acknowledged Garcia’s mentorship helped him immensely. “It’s the confidence he gives me. He believes in me. The first time I met with Robert, and I’ve known him for a long time, the one thing is that he pushed me to believe in myself, that I can do anything I want as long as I work hard.”
Donaire was also trained by Jonathan Penalosa, brother of former champion Gerry. There were times during the bout, though, when it appeared he could have been trained by a drunken goat and still he would have won. It was only Sidorenko’s guts and determination that allowed him to last until the fourth round.
“Big respect for Sidorenko,” Donaire said. “I mean, very, very tough guy. I could see, the first round, he was already out. As a fighter, I can see the eyes, and I have to see people’s eyes only when I know that I hurt them. I know that I hurt him and he just keeps coming. Just a lot of respect I have for Sidorenko.”
Donaire is one of the best fighters in the lower divisions, but he has been unable to land a big-time fight since his stunning knockout of Vic Darchinyan in 2007 for the IBF flyweight title. All that will change when he faces Montiel, the Mexican bantamweight king who boasts a 43-2-2 record with 33 knockouts. It will be Donaire’s toughest bout in years, but he is looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m excited,” he declared. “February 19, with one of the best, Fernando Montiel. I’m coming for you, you know that. It’s gonna be for the people. People want to see, I want to see it. You know he’s a good fighter, he’s a tough guy. But I wanted to make a statement in this fight and I did.”
Donaire has also consistently made the lists of top pound for pound fighters, but for the fighter generally regarded as the best Filipino boxer after Manny Pacquiao, the rankings don’t mean anything. At least not yet.
“You know, I still gotta beat Montiel. Then I will say I’m worthy of that. But that is such a pleasure, that is such an honor for me.”
Reposted From Sid Ventura of Yahoo! Southeast Asia