By Dennis Principe
The potent tandem that handed iconic Australia-based Armenian world champion Vic Darchinyan a terrifying defeat will once again team up in a highly anticipated featherweight debut. Nonito Donaire, Sr. told this writer he will be joining son Nonito, Jr. to relive the good old days that saw them score a smashing upset during their first world title attempt.
A huge underdog back in 2007, Donaire dominated and eventually stopped Darchinyan with a single left hook to the face in the 5th round to claim the International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight belt, the first of four division titles the young Donaire would soon claim.
“I will be joining their team. I am really thankful this has happened. I had dinner with Jun-jun and Rachel. We talked about a lot of things but we never discussed anything about the past except that we’ve accepted to forgive and forget our mistakes,” said Donaire, Sr.
After winning the crown from Darchinyan, the Donaire father-and-son tandem defended the belt twice before parting ways in a much publicized spat that also involved Donaire’s wife Rachel.
“Maybe I needed some time adjust back then. But I have now accepted everything knowing that they’ve been happily together for quite some time. But that moment when I held my grandson Jarel was really very special for me,” said Donaire, Sr.
The four-division champion Donaire will meet Darchinyan in a rematch on November 9 at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
“I’m excited going up in weight because even if they’re bigger, I know that I’m faster. I’m ready to experience the 126,” said Donaire, Jr. in a separate interview “In past trainings, my focus was more on losing weight rather than strategies or game plans. We actually never had any game plan before. We just focus on getting in shape.”
Donaire’s manager Cameron Dunkin said choosing Darchinyan makes sense knowing that the Australia-based Armenian has been adamant in claiming that he had an off night when he fought Donaire.
“This time I want to make sure I will be 100% ready all the time. Before, all I know is just to reduce weight for a fight,” said Donaire “As much as I’m strong in the early rounds, I get exhausted eventually. This time, I want to be 100% where I am able to use my speed.”
Though this will be the first time for both of them to fight in the featherweight class, Donaire said Darchinyan will still be an ideal opponent for him to test his abilities in this weight class.
“He’s still strong. Speed was never really his strength, it’s his power. So even if we’re getting older his power is still there. For me it’s all about coming back and re-establising myself,” said Donaire. “When they told me it’s Darchinyan, it’s OK with me because he gave me the opportunity so I’ll also give him a chance to redeem himself.”
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