By Chris Robinson
This past Wednesday, in Corpus Christi, Tex., trainer Robert Garcia was able to cross paths and spend considerable time with one of his star fighters, multi-division champion Nonito Donaire, for the first time in several months.
Donaire was in the city for a Top Rank press conference to announce an HBO-televised tripleheader featuring his rematch with Vic Darchinyan, a junior lightweight title match between WBO champion Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez and Mikey Garcia, and a clash for the vacant WBO junior middleweight title between contenders Demetrius Andrade and Vanes Martirosyan.
Donaire is coming off of a unanimous decision loss to Cuban stalwart Guillermo Rigondeaux this past April. Following the defeat, Donaire had a successful surgery on his right shoulder and also celebrated the birth of his first child with his wife Rachel as they welcomed their son Jarel into the world in July.
Following a late-night training session with Donaire on Wednesday evening, Garcia was able to tell just how focused the Fil-Am star has been.
“We worked together a little bit,” Garcia noted. “Believe me, right now Nonito is probably better than ever. I had never seen him like this with two months before his fight. He’s about, I would say, no more than seven or eight pounds from the division where he’s going to fight. I had never seen that. He’s motivated, he’s dedicated. And when we worked out, man he’s so fast and strong.”
Heading into the rematch with Darchinyan, who Donaire stopped in five rounds in July of 2007 in one of the year’s biggest upsets, Garcia is looking to make sure his fighter stays light on his feet.
“The thing I told him is ‘When you go back home, I want you to work a lot on your footwork. Because that’s going to be very important not just for this fight, but for your future fights. I want you to have great legs and great footwork.’ Believe me, people will see a difference, especially when we start working together.
“People will see the best Nonito they’ve ever seen,” Garcia stated adamantly.
Garcia explained that Donaire went back to Las Vegas late Friday and he will be coming to his personal facility in Oxnard to dive into a full training camp very shortly.
“Starting next week, we’re going to start working together,” said Garcia. “He’s going to come to Oxnard. I’m telling you, he’s already prepared and he’s already doing things that I haven’t seen. We still got seven weeks before the fight. It will be much better.”
Donaire has spent much of his previous camps training out of the Undisputed Boxing Gym in Northern California, but his preference for the facility limited his one on one time with Garcia, who has a flourishing stable of champions and prospects training in his own gym.
Garcia would often make the drive from Oxnard to Northern California to be with Donaire during the second half of the week for some camps and his time was even more limited heading into the Rigondeaux match, as he was back home helping Brandon Rios prepare for his rematch with Mike Alvarado.
Understanding what it best for his career at this point, Donaire is committed to a camp in Oxnard and despite Garcia’s bevy of fighters, the two-time Trainer of the Year expects things to go smoothly when Nonito hits town.
“Look, it’s not like he’s going to be with everybody training at the same time,” said Garcia. “I don’t know [if] other gyms do it like I do. With me, Nonito is going to have his time. With me, [Marcos] Maidana has his time. Maidana trains by himself at 10 in the morning. Brandon [Rios] trains by himself at noon. Nonito will come in at maybe three or four. That will be his own time. I’ll have that two hours just to focus on him.”