Besides WBO junior bantamweight beltholder Omar Narvaez, THE RING’s No. 1-rated bantamweight, Nonito Donaire, has two other potential adversaries to conquer on Saturday night in his first-ever bout at New York’s Madison Square Garden: the climate and the time zone.
A 28-year-old resident of San Leandro, Calif., who is accustomed to fighting on the West Coast, Donaire will be battling an opponent in New York for the first time.
Trainer Robert Garcia says it’s admittedly “a little chilly” in New York, but that Donaire is adjusting well.
“(He) is ready to fight on the East Coast and he is excited to fight in New York,” said Garcia of Donaire, who conducted an open workout in the Big Apple this past Saturday. “He’ll get used to the time change. Three hours difference is no big deal.”
Donaire knows first-hand about how keeping focus can insulate one from distractions, even when things are going wrong, as they did prior to Donaire’s last fight against former titleholder Fernando Montiel.
“The last fight, everything went wrong. My tooth fell out and we were up till three in the morning trying to find a dentist to fix my teeth,” said Donaire. “But when you get into the ring, everything just goes,” said Donaire.
Donaire turned the fight into a defining victory — a second-round knockout in what was only Donaire’s second bout since rising from the lower weight divisions.
“There may be loud noises around and you can’t sleep at night. There are always circumstances that can make you worry, but with the right mentality and the right people, like Robert Garcia — my team believes in me and I believe in myself … no matter what goes on before the fight.”
DONAIRE TO BE GUEST OF THE PHILIPPINES CONSULATE
A Philippines native who arrived in America when he was 11 years old, Donaire will be the guest of honor at a diplomatic reception at the Philippines Consulate in New York on Wednesday.
The event will begin at 10:30 a.m., and Donaire’s host will be the honorable Mario Lopez de Leon, Jr., Consul General of The Republic of The Philippines in New York.
PROTECT THE REF AT ALL TIMES
Referee Pat Russell blamed “incidental contact in a roughhouse fight” for the controversial ending to Saturday night’s second-round technical knockout ruling in favor of the challenger, Chad Dawson, after his opponent, Bernard Hopkins, suffered a shoulder injury and could not continue.
Russell ruled that the 46-year-old Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KOs) could not continue after becoming entangled with the 29-year-old Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs) and getting shoved to the canvas, resulting in an injury that was later diagnosed by Dr. Sam Thurber at the California Hospital Medical Center as a separated acromioclavicular, or AC joint, which connects the collar bone and shoulder blade, of his left shoulder.
Russell was not permitted to speak with the members of the media in the aftermath of the fight. Reached by RingTV.com on Monday, Russell said he was advised by California State Athletic Commission director George Dodd to refrain from further public comments “to protect the process of an appeal.”
“We don’t allow officials to make comments while appeals processes are potentially occurring,” Dodd told ESPN.com.
“This is to protect the ref, and is done so the appeal or protest can be carried out properly,” Dodd said. “There’s nothing to gain for a referee. … There’s no reason to open him to scrutiny.”
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, who represents Hopkins, said he plans to file an appeal with the commission. He believes the shove was an obvious foul and that the fight should’ve been declared a no-contest. Dodd said the appeal will be heard at its next meeting, on Dec. 13 in Los Angeles.
But to get an idea as to perhaps why Russell was not allowed further comment, rewind to a Showtime-televised bout on Aug. 13 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
That’s when Abner Mares dethroned IBF bantamweight titleholder Joseph Agbeko by controversial majority decision after referee Russell Mora failed to penalize Mares for repeated low blows in their fight.
The infractions included an 11th-round knockdown punch that Mora ruled legal even though replays clearly showed the punch landing on Agbeko’s cup. The IBF reviewed the same replays and ordered an immediate rematch, which will again be Showtime-televised and will take place on Dec. 3.