MANILA, Philippines – World super bantamweight champion Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire, already one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, is driven to become even better by his fellow pugilists from the Bay Area.
Donaire said in a Yahoo! Sports story that he is inspired and motivated by Andre Ward and Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, who both hail from the Bay Area.
Ward is the undisputed king of boxing's super middleweight division and the 2011 Fighter of the Year. On the other hand, Guerrero is an interim welterweight champion who has also won titles three other weight divisions.
"They're an inspiration for me," Donaire told Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole.
Ward is coming off a dominant victory over Chad Dawson in a bout held in front of his hometown crowd in Oakland, California. Although Dawson was the naturally bigger fighter, Ward thoroughly picked him apart en route to a tenth round technical knockout victory that impressed Donaire.
"Watching Andre, that made me realize that's how I fight, and that I needed to go back to the roots of who I am and how I fight," Donaire said.
Guerrero, for his part, won the interim Word Boxing Council welterweight belt against Selcuk Aydin in his first bout after suffering a rotator cuff injury.
"Robert is a guy who just trains so hard, and who so desperately wants to be the best. He looks at boxing as a warrior sport and he's really an inspiration to me."
Donaire said both Ward and Guerrero "have a big influence on who I am."
It is apparently a mutual admiration society.
"It helps to have guys like them around who knows what it takes and who understands what we go through as fighters," Guerrero said of Ward and Donaire.
"What you see is that at the end of the day, we all push each other and help each other and it makes us better and more complete fighters," he added.
Donaire will get a chance to raise Bay Area's profile anew when he fights Japanese boxer Toshiaki Nishioka on October 13 for four super bantamweight titles.