Can Nonito Donaire turn his career around?
By Chris Williams: After four consecutive less than stellar performances it looks as if former four division world champion Nonito Donaire (33-3, 21 KOs) might be pretty much finished as a fighter.
Donaire was recently knocked out by Nicholas Walters in the 6th round last October in a fight where Donaire was left face down on the canvas after eating a big shot from Walters. But Donaire also looked poor in his rematch with Vic Darchinyan, and in his fights against Simpiwe Vetyeka and Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Donaire was beaten up and dominated by the Cuban Rigondeaux, and Donaire’s fight against Vetyeka last May was highly controversial. That was a fight where Donaire suffered a cut in the 1st round of the fight. He then struggled badly against Vetyeka until getting a flash knockdown of Vetyeak in the 4th.
After that round, Donaire complained suddenly that he couldn’t see out of his cut eye, and the fight then went to the cards with Donaire winning by a technical decision. Who knows who would have won the fight had it gone further, because Vetyeka was giving Donaire all he could handle aside from the flash knockdown.
Donaire is 32 now, and even though he hasn’t taken a lot of punishment during his career, he might have too much ring wear on him to win another world title. There’s talk of Donaire melting back down to super bantamweight to try and recreate some of the success that he had in that weight class.
It’s a smart move if Donaire can make the weight, because there’s nothing there for him at featherweight. The guys hit too hard and they have the same size as Donaire. At least at super bantamweight, Donaire has the size advantage over a lot of the guys in that division, and he might be able to make something happen.
I don’t know if Donaire would match up against guys like WBC champ Leo Santa Cruz, IBF champ Carl Frampton or WBA champ Scott Quigg. Those guys can all punch. It goes without saying that Donaire would have to be steered around Rigondeaux by his promoter, as that would spell nothing but trouble for Donaire if he were to take that fight again.
Donaire is expected back in the ring in the first quarter of 2015 against an opponent still to be determined. It’s going to be tough for him to be able to capture another world title, because he doesn’t look like he has it anymore. I’m not sure if it’s age or a case of him not wanting to work as hard as he did in the past. Donaire has made a lot of money during his career, and it’s likely that he can retire off of what he’s made already.
The question is does Donaire still have the desire that he previously did? If not, then it won’t matter which division he fights in. He’ll struggle, take punishment and likely suffer additional knockouts. Darchinyan had Donaire looking like he was ready to be knocked out in their rematch, and Donaire took a lot of punishment in that fight.
If Donaire isn’t totally committed to what he’s doing then I don’t see him being anything more than a contender who gets occasional title shots. Donaire will likely get title shots galore given that he’s with Top Rank, but I don’t see him being able to win any a title unless he can pick up interim belt.
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