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Donaire goes with the flow with late sub

Story and photos by Chris Cozzone

Nonito Donaire says he just wants to fight - he doesn’t care if it’s Gerson Guerrero, Manuel Vargas or the “yapping dog” himself, Vic Darchinyan.

After a coming close to losing out on headlining Saturday night’s Top Rank card at the Hilton – a hybrid “Pinoy Power–Latin Fury” marathon card with 80 scheduled rounds – the “Filipino Flash” will get the chance to defend his WBA super flyweight interim belt against a late sub.

“All I can do is train as hard as I can and be ready for anything,” Donaire said today from Vegas.

“The last time I fought, I let everything bother me. This time, I’ve learned to go with the flow and to just give it everything you got.”

Originally, Donaire, 22-1, 14 KOs, was to face Gerson Guerrero, but after an aberration was discovered on the Mexican challenger’s eye, he was scratched from the lineup.

A frantic last minute-search began – and ended just as quickly as it started – when former minimumweight contender Manuel “Chango” Vargas, 26-4-1, 11 KOs, figured three days notice and three weight divisions could be overlooked for what will probably be his biggest purse.

Why a minimumweight and not a super flyweight or bantamweight for one of boxing’s top ten pound-for-pound fighters?

“We’re fortunate,” promoter Bob Arum said today. “You can find plenty who qualify to fight Nonito in his weight division, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to go in a few days’ notice. We were lucky that [Vargas] was getting ready to fight Saturday in Mexico. He jumped at the chance.

“Is he dangerous? This kid is no pushover. He’ll give Nonito all he can handle.”

Vargas has fought as small as 102 ¾ - exactly one year ago from what will be fight night – and as heavy as 113. His cutoff weight will be 115 at tomorrow’s weigh-in.

“I don’t know much about him at all,” admits Donaire. “But I’m used to having to fight spontaneously. Earlier in my career, I was the stepping stone guy who had to take fights on short notice.

“I’m just motivated and focused in just getting a fight, and I’m ready to bring everything to the table.”

Should Donaire clean up Saturday night, as he is expected to do, a rematch with Vic Darchinyan looms.

“He’s like a little Chihuahua dog,” laughs Donaire. “He’s always barking, barking, barking . . . But there’s more than barking with Nonito Donaire.”

Arum said the plan is to clean up at 115, then move up to heavier weight classes where the bigger money fights await – and fighters like Juan Manuel Lopez or Yuriokis Gamboa.

On the way to featherweight, Donaire is eying a fight with bantam champ Fernando Montiel, who is co-featured Saturday night.

“We’ve both talked about fighting each other,” says Donaire, who maintains a friendship with his future opponent. “We have a good relationship and there’s no disrespect – but we’re both eager to fight each other.”


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