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“Just the rematch. It’s pretty much just the rematch,” 2012 Fighter of the Year, Nonito Donaire, Jr., quickly responded to me when I asked him about what would make him stay at the 122 lb. super bantamweight division.
Donaire had been vocal about his struggles to make the 122 weight limit in his recent fights which has led to leg cramps dating back to his title unification bout last August against Jeffrey Mathebula. But there is one fight that will motivate him to continue shedding that extra weight, and that is a rematch with recent tormentor Guillermo Rigondeaux, who now holds the WBA and WBO belts.
“The rematch with Rigondeaux is pretty much what I’m going to look for, because I know I’m a better fighter than him,” Donaire said emphatically in our recent conversation a few days after he underwent surgery to repair torn ligaments and clean bone spurs in his right shoulder.
“I’m not going to take anything away from him; he was the better man that night in boxing, but I came in there and showed whatever I needed show to be aggressive and try to make the fight,” Donaire insisted.
Donaire suffered only the second loss of his professional career, and the first in 12 years just a couple of days after receiving his 2012 Fighter of the Year trophy awarded by the boxing writers of America. He intends to lick his wounds and heal his injuries, then pursue a rematch with the 2-time Olympic gold medalist from Cuba.
Donaire believes that he will be better prepared both physically and mentally and put together the correct game plan if he gets a chance to fight Rigondeaux again, but also maintained that if a rematch can’t be made immediately, that he plans to move up and stay at 126.
But despite his bravado, Donaire gave credit to Rigondeaux for besting him in the ring. “He did a good job. That’s definitely something that can’t be taken away from him, he did a good job in boxing. I’ve never been outboxed all my life, and that was the first time somebody moved around well enough to take away what I didn’t have, which were my legs,” Donaire stated.
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