The nation's second-most famous pugilist, Nonito Donaire Jr. (34W, 2L 21 KOs), has held world crowns at the Flyweight, Bantamweight, and Super Bantamweight weight classes, plus a Super Flyweight interim title.
Image via HBO.com
Following standard logic, The Filipino Flash should be a bona fide rock star athlete. But after his last two bouts, in which he struggled mightily, the fickle-minded members of the boxing public have questioned his status as an elite fighter.
This Saturday, May 31, Donaire will try to silence his critics by getting his fifth belt in as many weight divisions when he faces WBA Featherweight titleholder Simpiwe Vetyeka of South Africa (26W 2L 16KOs).
Is his championship bid a great move or—like Pacman playing and coaching in the PBA—is he biting off more than he can chew?
Let's dig deeper, and look at the five factors that’ll indicate how things may unfold in the mayhem in Macau that is Vetyeka vs. Donaire:
1) Erpats is officially back!
Due to prior commitments, Freddie Roach rival, Robert Garcia, wasn’t able to oversee Nonito’s training camp. So Junjun asked his Pops, who hasn't trained him since they feuded in 2007, to help him out.
The whole scenario, though, may be a blessing in disguise. With Erpats at the helm, we may witness a huge difference in Nonito’s ring movements. Under Robert’s watch, Donaire has virtually transformed into a walk-down knockout artist. It was effective to a certain degree but it was definitely one-dimensional, and was exposed in the Guillermo Rigondeaux fight:
With the pairing anew of the Donaires, we might have a sighting of Junjun’s immaculate footwork, which has not surfaced in four years.
According to Nonito, Garcia will still be in his corner along with his dad on fight day. However, the Filipino Flash might still be able to move around the ring as if he was on roller skates and utilize every pugilistic gift he’s been given, not just his power—just like he did when he was at competing as a 112 pounder, or when his Dad was still calling the shots.
2) Simpiwe “V12” Vetyeka has no qualms engaging. Can Nonito use Vetyeka's strength against him?
There’s no doubt that Donaire’s counterpart can sway the outcome of the fight just as much as Nonito can. So it’s just right that we give you a quick intro to Simpiwe Vetyeka, whose "V12" moniker means two things: 1) He's got a powerful, relentless engine and; 2) you have the option of not getting tongue-tied over his real name.
"Say my name wrong again, and I'll hit you even harder!"
(Image via sportlive.co.za)
True story: It was violent, it was brutal, it was a mauling: Vetyeka’s claim to fame is his resounding 2013 win over undefeated long-time Indonesian world champ, Chris John.
Indonesia’s greatest boxer ever, who holds a victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, got battered into retirement by V12. He ended a storied career, people. This South African warrior means serious business.