Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire. File Photo.
MANILA, Philippines – Former world champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire will be in an unfamiliar situation when he challenges South Africa’s Simpiwe Vetyeka for a pair of super featherweight belts on May 31 in Macau.
No less than Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum said Donaire “might go in as the underdog for this fight.”
“I really don’t know if Donaire is going to be the favorite,” Arum told RingTV.
This will be something new for “The Filipino Flash,” who has usually been the favorite entering his fights, up until he lost to Guillermo Rigondeaux in April 2012.
Donaire, who rebounded with a knockout win over Vic Darchinyan in their rematch late last year, is going up a weight division to face Vetyeka.
He said he understands why Arum would consider him the underdog.
“I am going up in a division, and the guy that I’m fighting beat the super champion, who was undefeated for so many years,” said Donaire, referring to Indonesia’s Chris John, who was beaten by Vetyeka in a tremendous upset last year.
“And so, he is the super champion now, and my goal is to be the super champion. I’m not the champion going into this fight, he is the champion going into this fight. So I can understand why they would say na underdog ako,” he added.
But Donaire said he likes – and even welcomes – the challenge of being the underdog. “I love the challenge. Mas gusto ko ‘yun eh,” he said.
Donaire explained that his 12-year winning streak, which ended against Rigondeaux, made him complacent. “I kinda lost myself,” he admitted.
Now, after experiencing the loss to Rigondeaux and a difficult fight against Darchinyan, Donaire is eager to again embrace the role of the underdog.
“I love the underdog feeling,” he said. “There’s nothing to lose. Your mind is just going out there, and there’s little that people are looking for you to do. Now that I get to be the underdog (again), I get to not worry about things.”
Donaire returned to Manila on Monday morning with his family to set up his training camp at the Elorde Gym in Sucat, Paranaque.