In the moments following what stands as a career-defining moment against Montiel, Donaire was brought down from the ring for interviews with reporters. That’s when a giddy, one-time pound-for-pound king Roy Jones Jr. left his position as an HBO analyst and engaged in a nearly minute-long, face-to-face conversation with Donaire.
Jones told Donaire that his performance rivaled any he had seen, including those by five-division, WBC welterweight titlewinner Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0, 26 KOs) and eight-division, WBO welterweight beltholder Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs)
“Nobody else comes close to Pacquiao, Mayweather and Donaire. All three of them are pound-for-pound,” said Jones. “It ain’t about a popularity contest. It’s about who does the job. This kid do the job. I see this kid doing some special things that not many fighters can do.”
Donaire still marvels at Jones’ praise.
“That meant a lot from Roy Jones, because I’m a really big fan of Roy Jones. I actually try to fight like him,” said Donaire. “That meant a lot for a great fighter to come up to me and to give me a compliment like that.”
Trainer Robert Garcia still marvels at the way Donaire finished off Montiel.
“Nonito called it before the fight and he said that that was exactly how the fight was going to end. Nonito was timing his opponent, Montiel, and waiting for his reactions. Montiel was landing good body punches, but Nonito was allowing that on purpose to set him up and to time his movements. The moment came, and that beautiful left hook landed,” said Garcia.
“But not everybody has that talent. You could be pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world, and you don’t have that talent. Not every fighter has those skills, but Nonito’s one of them. Nonito sees punches ahead of time and he studies the opponent inside of the ring and he feels what’s coming and knows what he’s coming back with.”
Inspired by Madison Square Garden’s history, Donaire is wants to look equally impressive against Narvaez.
“From Sugar Ray Robinson, Carmen Basilio and all of those guys. I’ve looked them all up. How incredible those guys were. They fought with no fear. They fought guys over and over. They just showed incredible heart and they’re a great history in boxing. That’s something that I would like to bring out. That’s how I am as a fighter,” said Donaire.
“My goal is to give out the energy, like Jack Dempsey did, like those great fighters did. That’s what I want to do. The old-time fighters, the Irish, the Jewish fighters. Their incredible performances in Madison Square Garden. I’ve watched them all. That’s the same thing that I want to do. I want to give everything that I’ve got and show that I’ve got some old-school in me as well.”
With Donaire saying Narvarez represents his last fight at 118 pounds, Arum has said that he would like to match Donaire against 35-year-old WBC junior featherweight titleholder Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KOs), of Tokyo, in May or June of 2012.
Nishioka, scored his 16th-straight victory with a unanimous decision over former two-division titleholder Rafael Marquez (40-7, 36 KOs) earlier this month.
“We expect as he rises in weight to 122 and to 126 and maybe above, that he will become a major super star in the sport,” said Arum. “When it comes, it will launch him into the elite super star categories.”
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com