IT’S going to be speed versus power.
Not lost on Nonito Donaire Jr. is the unblemished record of Jamaican puncher Nicholas Walters, who has won 20 of his 24 fights via knockout.
But the the 31-year-old Filipino world champion is undaunted, confident that his speed alone is enough to take care of business against his 28-year-old opponent.
“He’s a hard puncher, but I’m one of those things that just disappears right in front of you,” said Donaire on the eve of his featherweight unification title match against Walters at the StubHub center Carson, California on Saturday night (Sunday morning, Manila time).
“If he can punch that, we’ll see.”
Both Donaire and Walters came in at 125.6 lbs. during the official weigh-in on Friday (Saturday, Manila time)
Donaire (33-2, 21 KOs) became the World Boxing Association (WBA) super-welterweight champion after a fifth round technical decision over Simpiwe Vetyeka of South Africa last summer.
The win was the second straight for the US-based Filipino following his unanimous decision loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux a year ago.
He admitted not being motivated enough when he lost to Rigondeaux that ended his 30-fight winning streak.
“The toughest test is motivating myself. I know I have the power and the intelligence to keep fighting, but when a boy accomplishes his dream, he looks for another dream. That’s where I was, and when I lost, I realized I didn’t want to walk away from this dream. I wasn’t finished.”
Donaire will have to prove he still has a lot left in his tank against his power-punching opponent, who holds the WBA featherweight belt.
Walters fought in the undercard of the Donaire-Vetyeka match in Cotai, Arena in Macau, and readily showed the world he indeed has the power after demolishing Vic Darchinyian inside five rounds.
The Jamaican admitted watching Donaire’s career path while the Filipino was still fighting in the lower weights. Although he admires the four-time world champion and what he has accomplished, Walters said it is imperative to beat the `Filipino Flash’ for him to move forward.
“It is my time now. He’s in my way. I’ve got to move him out of the way so I can advance,” said the ‘Axe-Man,' who has stopped 10 of his last 11 opponents.
The Donaire-Walters unification bout serves as the main undercard of the middleweight title fight between Gennady Golovkin and Marco Antonio Rubio, who tipped in two pounds over the weight limit.