Donaire wants tune-up bout before taking on Valdez

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 08 2017 11:41 AM

Nonito Donaire and Jessie Magdaleno exchange punches during their WBO junior featherweight championship fight at the Thomas & Mack Center on November 5, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Christian Petersen, Getty Images/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Having learned from past mistakes, former world champion Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire Jr. feels he needs a tune-up fight before facing off against WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez.

A bout against Valdez was offered to Donaire by Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum, with a rematch against Jessie Magdaleno in the horizon if he is successful. The fight against Valdez will be set for March, according to a Boxing Scene report.

Donaire lost his super-bantamweight belts to Magdaleno in a hotly contested fight last November.

"I have heard about Valdez being offered as my next fight mid-March at 126-pounds (featherweight)," Donaire said in a Facebook post on Sunday.

"While I am grateful for the opportunity given to me by Top Rank and humbled they would give me the chance to fight for another title shot, I also believe I would be redoing the same mistake I did when I initially moved up to 126 in 2014," he added.

In 2014, Donaire moved to the featherweight division after a long and successful campaign at super-bantamweight. He took on former foe Vic Darchinyan and won via stoppage, though he visibly struggled in the middle rounds.

He won one more fight at featherweight – a unanimous technical decision over Simpiwe Vetyeka of South Africa -- but was brutally knocked out by Nicholas Walters in October 2014, which prompted a move back to super bantamweight.

In his Facebook post, Donaire said he initially moved to featherweight so as to avoid the tedious weight-cutting process. "But what I soon learned the hard way was most of the 126 fighters walk near 140 fight night. I have been walking around 132/133 most days and I'm not even in camp," he revealed.

"Knowing my mistake before and acknowledging I wasn't solid muscle at 126, I believe it's in my best interest to take a tune-up 126 fight in May, and if comfortable with the muscle weight, fight Valdez in the fall," Donaire proposed.

A fight in March, according to the fighter, is "too soon to gradually build the correct muscle weight."

If he finds himself comfortable at the 126-pound weight division, Donaire said he will no longer return to 122-pounds. However, if his proposed scenario is not possible, the Filipino star said he has no problem with staying in the super-bantamweight division.

"I'm positive Top Rank has an array of options for me to fight, if Magdaleno so chooses not to give me the rematch for whatever his reason," he said.

Donaire is not alone in his apprehension. His own father and former trainer, Nonito Sr., also told the Manila Times that his son was "too small in that weight class."

"His natural weight is at super bantamweight," the elder Donaire said. "At the same time, his talent is decreasing."

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