NONITO Donaire Jr. isn’t about to be deceived by the limited fights Guillermo Rigondeaux had as a pro.
Despite the Cuban having fought just 11 times since turning professional in 2009, Donaire admitted he’s not taking his chances against the former Olympic gold medalist when they clash in their super-bantamweight unification title fight this Saturday (Sunday, Manila time) at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
The champion said he knows his boxing history, aware how a young Leon Spinks – an Olympic gold medal hero just like Rigondeaux – stunned the boxing world in 1978 when he dethroned the great Muhammad Ali as heavyweight champion notwithstanding having just eight pro fights to his credit.
That’s definitely one boxing lesson Donaire takes to heart.
“I do listen to every history lesson that is out there, and that’s what makes me work hard and train hard,” said `The Filipino Flash’ based on the transcript of the press conference call made by Top Rank from Manhattan, New York on Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time).
“That’s why we do not underestimate him (Rigondeaux) and trained very hard for this fight. We are training for this fight like we are fighting the best out there.”
The 32-year-old Rigondeaux, one of five Cuban Olympians who defected to Miami in 2007, carries a ring record of 11-0, with eight KOs. He’s the reigning World Boxing Association 122-lbs. title holder, winning the crown in only his ninth fight following a sixth-round knockout of Rico Ramos in January of last year at the Palm Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
“He’s an incredible fighter. Having only 11 fights and becoming world champion – he’s an elite fighter,” was how Donaire, holder of the World Boxing Organization version of the super-bantamweight crown, describes the accomplished Cuban now based in Miami, Florida.
Donaire was already a world champion (flyweight) by the time Rigondeaux made his pro debut in 2009 and had 22 fights to his name, including remarkable victories over the likes of Vic Darchinyan, Luis Maldonado, and Moruti Mthalane.
His ring record now stands at 31-1, with 20 KOs, and is coming off an impressive third-round stoppage of Mexican great Jorge Arce in their title fight four months ago in Houston, Texas.
Significantly, the champion is unbeaten in the last 12 years and is on an amazing 29-fight winning streak.
Donaire said all of that should factor in his favor against Rigondeaux.
“When it comes down to speed-power and power and tactical ability, then my experience will come in handy in terms of pushing through and going all out and going more rounds,” said the Philippine-born fighter now based in San Leandro, California.
“I think that is going to be a big factor.”
The final press conference for the match pitting two of the world’s top super-bantamweights today is set on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) at the Madison Square Garden Theater Lobby.