By Steve Lopez: As the Pacquio-Marquez IV aftermath begins to slowly fade, we have another fight that will portray that Philippines-Mexico rivalry. The two Filipino and Mexican fighters are set to take the center stage this December 15, 2012 in Houston, TX: WBO Jr. Feather Champion Nonito Donaire and challenger Jorge Arce.
On Tuesday, both fighters were scheduled to take part in media/public workouts to begin the fight week festivities. Although neither fighter partook on mitt work or shadow boxing to say the least, both were open to answer many questions from the media. I had the privilege to be part of the workout, capture visuals and ‘Q & A’ transcripts from the day.
Wednesday will be the official Final Press Conference. Coverage and visuals will be provided as well.
Jorge “Travieso” Arce was beaming with Mexican confidence. Here are his answers to some of the questions posed to him by media members and fans:
Question: “What is the plan to defeat Donaire on 12/15/12?”
Jorge Arce: “I feel the plan to defeat Donaire is to not show him too much respect. A lot of fighters go out there just to cover up. He must hit hard, but I’m going to come out there and fire my shots and make him fight. That’s going to be my plan.”
Question: “It’s been a while since Nonito has been in an exciting fight. His fight with Mathebula, for example. But, that’s completely opposite for you. Every one of your fights is an exciting fight. So what kind of show are you looking to put on Saturday night?”
Jorge Arce: “Well, I know Donaire is one of the best Pound For Pound fighters right now. That’s what motivates me for the fight. I’ve been working very hard in the gym. I know that I’ll catch everyone by surprise this December 15th. I know that a lot of people have underappreciated me, they have insulted me saying that Donaire is going to beat me. I’m ready for the surprise.”
Question: “Tell the fans what promise you made for your son (it is his son’s first birthday on the night of the fight). Tell us: what is the promise you made to your son this Saturday.”
Jorge Arce: “On Saturday, my youngest son turns one year old. I promised him the victory and promised to take him to Disney. I’m ready and I’m not going to fail him. I can fail to anyone, but not to my children. I’m going to surprise everyone: I’m going to knock out Nonito Donaire. I promise.
With a charming and friendly personality, Nonito Donaire also took the time to address those present. Showing lots of confidence and an outlook for a knockout as well, here’s his feedback:
Steve Lopez: “What worries you the most about Arce? He has a lot of momentum now. To some, the tragedy from last Saturday (Pacquiao’s loss). To others, the victory. What worries you the most about Arce and the momentum Mexico has right now?
Nonito Donaire: “Right now, he feels he’s invincible, you know? That’s the toughest thing. People can work hard, but if they’re not into it, they’re going to lose the fight. But if people have what it takes, but then have that mentality, they’re a hundred times more formidable to fight. They feel that no one can touch them. That’s how he feels. Knowing what had happened, he dreams of making that happen again. That’s going to be Arce’s main weapon.
Man it’s all getting serious already! (Referring to the questions to be asked) **laughter from everyone**
Question: “Arce said that the fight wasn’t going to go the distance. What do you think?”
Nonito Donaire: “Our fight is not going to go the distance. If he’s willing to engage, I’m willing to engage. Of course, I’m going to be smarter. Yeah, he’s powerful. I’ve got my power as well. It’s going to be exciting. I don’t see it going the distance. It sucks to go the distance.”
Question: “What do you think as your role of the favorite and him considered the big time underdog?”
Nonito Donaire: “That’s something that the underdog has the advantage of because he has nothing to lose. The underdog is already expected to lose. What he has to gain is to make it tough and get that win. He has nothing to lose. As the top dog, you have to worry about performance, how you’re going to perform, how you’re going to do this, that. Everything is going to be on the plate for me. As for Arce, I would rather be the underdog, to be honest with you.”
Question: “Nonito, a lot of the feedback from the fans is that you guys have that friendship. You guys play around, joke around. How does that affect the fight? Is that going to translate into the fight? One of the things they’re saying is ‘We want to see the intensity, the trash-talk.’ How do you build up the fight?”
Nonito Donaire: “It’s what we call professionalism. You don’t want to be in there talking crap. What’s the point of that? Yeah, they want to make it hype. This is what is called professional boxing. For me personally, I never talk crap. If they do that, I just step back and calm myself down. I don’t have time for that. I set an example of being a kid who was bullied. To do that, it would be bullying in a sense. I like to do my talking inside of the right. Some people may not like that I wear suits. I’m a professional boxer. This is my job. It’s what I do.
Comment: “You do wear your sweatshirts backwards a couple of times sometimes, though.”
Nonito Donaire: “I do, 80% of the time. Haha! It’s so funny because I just put on the thing backwards. I just put it on backwards. I notice that, haha.”
Steve Lopez: “On Saturday for 2012, it’s going to be your fourth fight of the year. Definitely a lot of activity in comparison to the other fighters that we see. What’s it like fighting four times a year? Is it draining on your body? I know you’re at your peak right now…well, you’d be the best to know. What’s it like?
Nonito Donaire: “It’s amazing. I’m constantly in shape. For this fight, I only trained for five weeks. But, within two and a half weeks, I was already sparring 11, 10 rounds. So, I got in shape too fast. So, it’s actually really good. You’re mentally prepared. Your mind set to fight and your body is in tune. I like the fight I’m fighting a lot. It keeps a fighter healthy.”
Steve Lopez: “Any signs of overtraining?”
Nonito Donaire: “Well, that’s what you have to keep in mind. Last week I felt I was overtrained. So, I stopped for a couple of days and I was ready to go. Listening to your body is one of the keys.”
Question: “He (Arce) talks a lot about experience. That experience is going to be key in this fight. How far do you think experience is going to take him in this fight?”
Nonito Donaire: “He definitely has experience over me. But, I also have experience. It all just comes down to better game plan and executing the plan that we worked on for Arce.”
Question: “What are some of the fights that you’ve seen of him?”
Nonito Donaire: “Actually, I didn’t what a fight. I’ve seen and known of him. Briefly seen him fight. I didn’t see one in particular, but I’ve seen him fight here and there.”
Question: “You have fought against some of the guys that have beaten him, like Darchinyan. Do you think, in that sense, you’re the favorite to win this fight?”
Nonito Donaire: “Well, not because of that fact. Let’s see…earlier this year, he stopped Vasquez. I didn’t. When I faced Concepcion, I went 12 rounds while Montiel took him out in like two rounds. So it doesn’t matter who you fight. It’s the fighter that’s in front of you that makes the difference, their style and how they are inside the ring. But, it has nothing to do because I’m the “top guy.”
Question: “What do you think about styles?”
Nonito Donaire: “I think his style is taylor-made for me. But, at the same time, if he overwhelms me, my style is taylor-made for him. So, it’s really up to what he does in there and what he can do inside that right. But, if I come up smarter than he is, I’m definitely going to win the fight.”
Steve Lopez: “What would you say is your most gratifying win/victory? You’ve had a lot of great fights. The one that stands out to me the most is the Darchinyan fight. But, from your perspective, what was that one fight that made you say: “Hey, I’m destined to do great things.”?
Nonito Donaire: “It started with Darchynian, but I think it has to be with Montiel. Montiel was a tough guy. Montiel was beating everybody, but he was never hurt the way I hurt him. That told me, that just gave me more confidence going to the fights afterwards. Of course, Nishioka. I felt that was a satisfying victory as well.”
Question: “You mentioned Texas. I think we all know the last time you fought in Texas, one of the judges turned in an interesting scorecard. When we read about it in the media, fans say things about Texas. Do you, as a fighter, have any kind of reservation about fighting in the state of Texas?”
Nonito Donaire: “Well, everybody is always entitled to their opinion and the way they look at fights. Some people favor a fighter, some favor a smart fighter. To me, I really don’t like to go the distance. Not only that it sucks, but because you’re working for a couple more rounds. You get tired, your face gets more beat up, your hand gets beat up. There’s no more satisfying winning a fight as it is winning by knockout.