Philippine Daily Inquirer

Donaire future at stake vs Bedak

- By Roy Luarca

CEBU CITY—What lies ahead for Nonito Donaire Jr.?

The answer will largely be dependent upon the outcome of his World Boxing Organizati­on junior featherwei­ght title fight against Zsolt Bedak here last night.

If Donaire wins, his future will be full of bright possibilit­ies. If he loses, the future will, once again, become bleak.

Donaire knows that, of course. A 33year-old, five-division world champion, he’s had his share of ups and downs.

He reached the pinnacle of success in 2012, when he won all of his four bouts and was named Fighter of the Year by Ring TV.

In 2013, Donaire’s stock fell when he was beaten by Guillermo Rigondeaux, the back-to-back Olympic bantamweig­ht champion for Cuba in the 2000 edition in Sydney and 2004 Games in Athens.

Donaire hit rock-bottom in 2014, when he was stopped by Nicholas Walters in their collision for the World Boxing Associatio­n featherwei­ght crown in Carson, California. But Donaire did not give up. He rebounded last year with three straight victories over William Prado, Anthony Settoul and Cesar Juarez, respective­ly, the last giving him the WBO 122-pound crown.

Though he’s not looking past Bedak, Donaire is actually eyeing more lucrative fights against either Carl Frampton (22-0, 14 knockouts) or Rigondeaux (16-0, 10 KOs).

“I’m willing to fight them. I want to fight them,” Donaire told Manila-based sportswrit­ers Friday afternoon. “Get the best.”

According to Donaire, he’d learned lessons from that loss to Walters.

“I’ve [improved] on my knowledge. How to eat properly and be mentally and physically ready,” added Donaire.

If before Donaire used to fight at 70 percent, he’s now making sure that it’s 110 percent.

Even if he beats Bedak impressive­ly, however, Donaire admitted he isn’t sure to land a fight with either Frampton or Rigondeaux, who belong to different promotiona­l outfits.

“That’s something out of my control,” said Donaire, who is under Top Rank.

In parting, Donaire also mentioned Diego Magdaleno (23-0, 17 KOs) as another possible foe.

But first there’s Bedak.

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