Keeping the momentum going

AFTER an absolutely scintillating night of boxing in the “Pinoy Pride XXXI” fight card of ALA Promotions and giant broadcast network ABS-CBN at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu last Saturday Nonito Donaire and undefeated King Arthur Villanueva hope to keep the momentum going this weekend.

Donaire continues his journey to redemption after a crushing sixth-round TKO at the hands of the bigger and stronger Jamaican Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters, when he faces former European champion Anthony Settoul in a 10-round, non-title bout at the Cotai Arena in Macau.

On the other hand, Villanueva faces undefeated Puerto Rican southpaw McJoe Arroyo in a battle for the vacant International Boxing Federation super flyweight title at the Don Haskins Convention Center in El Paso, Texas on Sunday (Manila time).

The Standard watched Donaire train last Friday at the ALA Gym in Cebu with his father and trainer “Dodong” Donaire and while he still has some ways to go to recapture the fistic magic, which enabled him to be declared the 2012 Fighter of the Year and to move up to No. 5 in the prestigious Ring Magazine pound-for-pound rankings, he looked good.

Donaire realizes he needs to put on an impressive performance against Settoul to set the stage for a title fight against tough Scott Quigg, who himself needs to get by Mexican Kiko Martinez on the same day in Britain. He engaged unbeaten Prince Albert Pagara in a torrid sparring session, where both fighters didn’t hold back. It was exhilarating stuff and coming after previous sparring sessions with Mark Magsayo, who scored a spectacular fifth-round TKO over Mexican slugger Rafael “Guerrerito” Reyes, it showed that the fivedivision world champion wants to regain the stature that elevated him to a position as potential successor to eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao.

Donaire acknowledged that both Magsayo and Pagara have the potential to become world champions and hailed them as the future of Philippine boxing.

He also recognized the reality that while he helped them hone their fighting skills, they too helped him in preparing for Settoul.

With Quigg lined up by Top Rank promoter Bob Arum as Donaire’s return to big-time championship boxing, hopefully in a blockbuster card in Dubai, Nonito realizes what’s at stake in his bid to regain lost glory.

King Arthur Villanueva will surely have a much tougher time against Mc Joe Arroyo, a shifty southpaw with sound fundamentals coming from his Olympic experience, despite the confidence Villanueva has shown and the belief of trainers Edmund and Edito Villamor that he has what it takes to win the world title.

But to be honest, Mc- Joe Arroyo is no pushover and King Arthur will have to call on all his royal assets to win the world title, including his mastery of chess, whose fundamentals he could fall back on to look ahead at the moves of McJoe and to prepare to counter them with finesse.

We fervently hope that Donaire and King Arthur can duplicate the absolutely masterful performance of Nietes in his handsome victory over a talented 21-year-old mandatory challenger in Francisco Rodriguez and the cracking performance of the magnificent Magsayo, which would continue to lift the spirits of Filipino fight fans and bring pride and joy to our countrymen.


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