BOB ARUM: I am really excited about this card. We have called it “IN HARM’S WAY.” The reason we call it that is because the men fighting on this card are fighting not just to win the fight on the card but for their immediate future. Let me start with Julio César Chávez Jr…he is fighting for perhaps a fight against three-division world champion Miguel Cotto in the Spring and this severe test against Alfonso Gomez will determine whether or not he will fight a Cotto or maybe Antonio Margarito.. Secondly, Nonito, who is on the call today, has to win the fight against former champ Sidorenko in order to fulfill a date that we have February 19 in Las Vegas on HBO…a match that everybody is looking forward to, against World Bantamweight Champion Fernando Montiel. Also on the card is WBC lightweight champion Humberto Soto, defending his world title against Urbano Antillon. Humberto is a long-reigning champion and the winner of that fight gets to defend his title against rising star Brandon Rios, who just fought on our pay-per-view card in Dallas. Finally, Robert Garcia’s brother Mikey Garcia is facing Olivier Lontchi and if he wins that fight, Mikey will fight on a card in March that will feature World Featherweight Champion Juan Manuel Lopez which will be televised by one of the premium networks. This card is filled with danger and should be a spectacular card at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Today we have with us Nonito Donaire, who is one of the finest fighters in the lighter weight divisions. A world champion at flyweight and super flyweight, he now expands his horizons to the bantamweight division. His fight with Sidorenko will be a 12-round fight in the bantamweight division, and we have his trainer, who you all remember for the role he played in Dallas, the trainer of Antonio Margarito, Robert Garcia.
ROBERT GARCIA: All of my fighters are very happy to fight for Top Rank and it is an honor to be representing such a great company. Nonito has a big fight coming up and the next one will be even better. I speak for all my fighters and they are all very happy. Nonito has had very intense sparring. I joined him last week and he sparred 12-rounds on Saturday and I was surprised with his skills, talent and conditioning. He was not even breathing hard after that. He is in tremendous shape for this fight. We have a tough opponent in front of us, but like you mentioned, he has a fight next against Montiel that he has been wanting for a very long time. Hopefully everything goes well on the 4th so we can get that big date against Montiel.
NONITO DONAIRE: Thank you Bob and Top Rank for making this happen. This is the fight I have been looking for. I have never been this motivated for a fight and you have never seen Nonito Donaire fight when he is this motivated. Like Robert said, when I am motivated and training really hard you will see the best in me and you are going to see it against Sidorenko and hopefully against Montiel in February. Right now I am motivated in terms of learning and becoming a better fighter and Robert is there to help me out and Top Rank is there to give me the fight. Right now we are very confidant and I am training really hard. We have the media workout today and a lot of people are going to be there and it is really exciting. The whole team is really excited for this fight and we are really looking forward to it.
How do you feel about this fight as being IN HARM’S WAY?
NONITO DONAIRE: Sidorenko is a very tough guy. He is very experienced and he knows how to win as well. He is there to bring his name up as well in beating me. I am really focused on this fight and ready for whatever he brings to the ring. He is a different style than I have seen. I will change my style accordingly to take advantage of my opponent. It is going to be a tough fight and one that I want to make a statement on. Sidorenko is a tough guy but I want to say I am ready. Montiel may be after this but we don’t want to look past Sidorenko who is a tough fighter.
How do you deal with this and not look past Sidorenko?
NONITO DONAIRE: I always look at it as motivation regardless. It is always a learning experience and the one thing I look at is there is a lot of pressure on this fight and I don’t want to look past Sidorenko. I made into a way to make a statement in the fight so that way I motivate myself to work harder, looking forward tot hat big fight but we can’t look past Sidorenko so we use that as motivation and that’s how we look at it. With Robert in the corner it is going to be really good.
How is your weight?
NONITO DONAIRE: Right now I am about 10 pounds over and it’s been good, I guess because I have been working out harder and longer than usual. I am sparring 12-rounds and losing weight in the process. I am moving around and hitting the mitts and the bag. Working harder because I am in great shape and working out longer. I am going to be really fit by the weigh-in.
When did you hook up with Robert Garcia?
NONITO DONAIRE: I had Jonathon Peñalosa who was with me for over a month. I am a veteran and I know not to get lazy in between fights. Everybody was working hard and Robert was working with Margarito and I just can’t let him come with me. I have a lot of trainers around and I worked hard before Robert got with me. Robert saw the difference too when I trained this time around. I hired a strength trainer who is one of the best in track and field. His name is Remni Korchemni and he got me in tremendous shape and Robert saw the great shape I am in.
How do you keep Nonito focused on the task at hand?
ROBERT GARCIA: Bob and everybody are already talking about the fight with Montiel on February 19, but we would never look past Sidorenko. We have a tough opponent and I’ve been studying his tapes for the past couple of weeks. He is a tough kid with a lot of experience and a former world champion. I have been working with Nonito for the last two fights and I joined this camp two weeks ago. We are not taking it easy. He is in tremendous shape and I am amazed the shape he is in. He is not looking past his next opponent and we see great fights in the future. Not only Montiel…we cannot look past Sidorenko.
Do you think Sidorenko’s unique style will pose difficulties?
NONITO DONAIRE: My style…I am very versatile so whatever he comes at me with I’ll be ready. I only look at styles with hands. When the left hand comes, the right hand will come in. It is always that process regardless of what style he is. The human body will always do the same process regardless. Two hands. One is the left and the other is the right, that is all I look at and I counter. Whatever he comes at me with I can devise a plan. Robert will see what he does and we are very confident. I believe in my corner and my ability to change whatever I need to for me to take advantage of my opponent.
How do you feel about moving up to his weight?
NONITO DONAIRE: I have always fought early in my career at this weight. I am a bigger guy and I got through this process because at 115 I had an opportunity that I didn’t want to let go of. Now that I am closer to my regular weight of 118 I am good and confident. I trained really hard so it doesn’t matter if the guy is bigger. It is just a matter of game plan and executing it in the ring.
By making a statement in the ring, does that mean a knockout?
NONITO DONAIRE: I always want to look for a knockout. That is the best way to victory you can achieve in a fight. I don’t want to be cocky or sound cocky but that is the best motivation for a fight and what I keep in my head. Regardless of whether I win by knockout…I am motivated because I want to be the first guy to knock this guy out. That’s what I want to do when I get the opportunity in the ring. If not, I am always smart about a lot of things. Robert is going to let me know what to do and it will help me knock this guy out.
Who do you think will win the bantamweight tournament and would that be a future opponent?
NONITO DONAIRE: Maybe. I don’t ever turn down a good fight. All of them are pretty much equal in terms of experience. Some have more youth, some more power and some more experience. To me it doesn’t matter who wins I am always ready for a good fight. I would probably go with Abner Mares. In terms of power, there is Vic Darchinyan in there but that is something I care little about because I am focused on this training camp and my guy and Montiel.
NONITO DONAIRE: I have never been as motivated for a fight as this one. I have been an on-and-off guy and with Robert he can make it better. He sees a difference in this training camp. I am in tremendous shape and it has to do with the motivation for this fight. Looking forward to Montiel, it is something that I want to happen. The 100% training gets me closer to who I want to be in the ring. Lately I have been a counter-puncher. I want to take control of the fight. Sometimes I don’t really push myself to the limit and I think I’m going to push myself to the limit this time around because I want to make a statement of who Nonito Donaire really is in the ring.
How can you explain not being motivated for a fight?
NONITO DONAIRE: It has a lot to do with my experience in boxing. I have quit a few times. I love boxing and it is what I truly want to do. I think the lack of opposition and the guys I really want to fight. This time when I have Montiel in my sights I am truly motivated. When I fought Darchinyan I can hardly say I was 100%. I only had one week of sparring before the fight and I came in there with that lefty and maybe I got lucky with the punch but I did it again. I have always been learning going into the ring. I am not a very experienced fighter at the professional level and because of the time difference between each fight you lose the experience a little. Since now I have been fighting a lot I have become to accept professional boxing and the way it is. I have learned and now from watching a lot of professional fights. I am confident and that has brought me to be more motivated in terms of getting the real me in that ring. I have no fear and want to execute everything in the ring that Robert and I have planned and they are going to see a different guy going in there.
Sidorenko only has seven KOs, so you think he may not have the power to bother you?
NONITO DONAIRE: I really don’t look at it that way. As a professional, in the ring, the glove is so small even a jab can make you see stars. You never want to look past a guy that has fewer knockouts. You try to knock guys out when you hurt them. I was in a position before with guys I didn’t knock out.
If you didn’t have Montiel, would you still be motivated for Sidorenko?
NONITO DONAIRE: Overall, Sidorenko is a tough guy, a former champion and I have to be at my best or else if I slip I’ll never get past him and I’ll never get to Montiel. I have Montiel on the horizon if I get past this guy and that’s why I have all the motivation that I need. This is where I want to be, with Montiel and Sidorenko. He is a good fighter and it will help me be a better fighter in terms of how I deal with this guy.
How did the “Pinoy Power” series work out for you?
BOB ARUM: I thought the Pinoy Power series that we did was very good from a standpoint of boxing. But we didn’t find a way to build up enough buys in the Philippines or the general community, but we are going to revisit Pinoy Power next year but there’s got to be a way to use the Filipino ABS-CBN network and the network in the U.S. and Canada with the cables systems and the dishes that we can generate more hits.
Is there going to be a push for Nonito to be on networks and not just PPV?
BOB ARUM: We put him on PPV as a last resort because it was difficult, particularly with HBO, to have them buy the smaller-weight fighters. Because he was successful on PPV, first on Showtime and now as the main event, assuming he wins on December 4, on the main event on HBO, to really make a breakthrough. Now we are looking to, in a general way, as with the other General Santos City fighter to really move Nonito. Because if he is successful here with Sidorenko and then Montiel, he has told us he wants to move up in weight to fight guys at 122 and ultimately some of the big stars at 126. He is tremendously talented and has a great future ahead of him. There are obstacles, but I don’t think any more from the premium networks not wanting to use him because he is a lighter weight. That is behind us.
Do you only want big fights?
NONITO DONAIRE: I think it will be hard enough after I get past 118 to 122 and fighting on network TV to fight anyone but big fights once I get up there.
Are there any current hand issues?
NONITO DONAIRE: I think when you are in good shape you get your body to do more impact and take more impact. The motivation gets you past everything and so far it has been really good. Because I am in good shape everything has been going smooth.
What has Robert Garcia brought to you?
NONITO DONAIRE: He is bringing the best out of me in terms of being confident. I have never had anyone inspire me to train hard to be more confident in the ring. I am now reaching the more me, the better me. He tells me I can do it and I have never had anyone tell me that I can do it. All my life people have told me I couldn’t do it and he brings the best out of me.
ROBERT GARCIA: When I was brought into training camp last year, I saw that he was very talented. But he lacked that final decision. He always fought with very good skills but never able to make that quick decision at the end. He was so skillful he never had to but coming into big fights, you need someone to push you to the extra level. The last couple of fights we still haven’t reached that level, we have done it in the gym but not needed to in the ring. But these next two fights I am going to have to come in there to help him and I’ll do everything I have to, to push him harder. I’ve seen him do it in training now we have to get him to do it in the ring.
BOB ARUM: It’s a great card and I’m sitting outside the Wild Card Boxing Club and I am bout to go upstairs and see Chávez Jr. work out. They say he is in great shape and I want to see it for myself. Nonito has his work cut out for him in the next two fights as his career goes on. I am confident that Nonito, now recognized as one of the best pound-for-pound in boxing, his best days are ahead of him.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zanfer Promotions and Tecate, “In Harm’s Way” will be televised Live on Pay-Per-View, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT from the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Remaining tickets, priced at $200, $100, $50 and $30, are available at Ticketmaster.com, via Ticketmaster charge-by-phone (800-745-3000), all Ticketmaster retail locations and the Honda Center box office.
The “In Harm’s Way” pay-per-view broadcast will be headlined by the 12-round rumble between undefeated World Boxing Council (WBC) Silver middleweight champion JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ, Jr. (41-0-1, 30 KOs), of Culaican, México, defending his title against The Contender alumnus ALFONSO GOMEZ (22-4-2, 11 KOs), of Guadalajara, México, currently-world-rated No. 4 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and No. 5 by the WBC. The pay-per-view broadcast will also feature two-division world champion NONITO DONAIRE (24-1, 16 KOs), of General Santos City, Philippines, risking his upcoming shot at World Bantamweight Champion Fernando Montiel, in a 12-round bantamweight battle against former World Boxing Association (WBA) bantamweight champion WLADIMIRO SIDORENKO (22-2-2, 7 KOs), of Energodar, Ukraine; WBC lightweight champion HUMBERTO SOTO (53-7-2, 32 KOs), of Los Mochis, México, defending his title against consensus Top-10 contender URBANO ANTILLON (28-1, 20 KOs), of Maywood, Calif.; and undefeated lightweight contender MIKEY GARCIA (23-0, 19 KOs), in a 10-round lightweight bout against OLIVIER LONTCHI (18-1-2, 8 KOs), of Montréal, Québec, Canada.
The In Harm’s Way pay-per-view telecast, featuring Chávez Jr. vs. Gomez, has a suggested retail price of $44.95, and will be produced and distributed live by Top Rank. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. For In Harm’s Way fight week updates, log on to www.toprank.com.