The past few days I have focused much of my coverage towards Nonito Donaire and his recently setup camp in Las Vegas. Donaire vies for the vacant WBO junior featherweight championship against former champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. on February 4th in Houston, Texas and it could kick-start a potentially huge 2012 for him.
But while Donaire, who is moving up from the bantamweight division for this contest, has garnered a lot of well-deserved buzz in recent years, there is a subdued character at 122 pounds who may prove to be his stiffest test to date despite not having as much star appeal as guys like Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa.
Guillermo Rigondeaux, the interim WBA junior featherweight champion, is presently working in Hollywood, Florida as he gears up for a clash with the WBA’s ‘regular’ champion Rico Ramos, a fight that very well now may be headed to the Palms Casino in Las Vegas on January 20th after several setbacks.
A standout amateur from Cuba who won a pair of gold medals, there is no denying the raw talent that Rigondeaux possesses. And if you ask certain members from the 31-year old’s camp, they will be quick to tell you that it is Rigondeaux, not Donaire, who is the man to beat at 122 pounds.
James ‘DJ’ Montanocordoba is a conditioning based out of Atlanta, Georgia who has worked with the likes of Joel Casamayor, Nate Campbell, Juan Guzman, Sechew Powell, Lamont Peterson, Fernando Guerrero, and most recently with Rigondeaux. Montanocordoba recently took time from his schedule to not only praise his fighter’s abilities but also to claim adamantly that Donaire will likely be guided away from a Rigondeaux clash by his inner circle come 2012.
Montanocordoba is outspoken with his ways and he also made a point to nitpick Donaire’s October 22nd twelve-round decision over Omar Narvaez while also stating his belief that he is not a true threat to Rigondeaux.
This is what Montanocordoba had to share…
How he linked up with Guillermo Rigondeaux…
“I’m very recognized with the Cubans because of my history with Joel Casamayor. The Cuban people know about me because of my history with the Cuban fighters. I worked with [Casamayor] for a long period of time. It was more than work. It was like a good relationship, and we put it a lot of years. We won some championships and we did pretty organized work.”
Working with certain trainers in the sport…
“I can tell you names of people, but normally I don’t like saying certain names of fighters, but I can tell you the trainers I have worked with. I have worked with John David Jackson, Buddy McGirt, I worked with [Felix] Trinidad Sr., I even worked with Barry Hunter. I could tell you more of the trainers because when I tell you the trainers, you know I’ve been working with fighters. When I am in camp with one fighter, I am with the fighter only and I don’t like mentioning the other fighters because I feel it’s disrespectful.”
Updates from Rigondeaux’s South Florida camp…
“Camp has been great. He’s looking spectacular, strong. I truly believe that no one at 122 can match Rigondeaux. One of the things that makes him so special as a fighter is the experience that he has. A lot of people talking just about him as an amateur, but he’s on a different level. Not only in the things he does, it’s the mental state of him, the belief he has that he is special.”
Seeing Rigondeaux-Ramos postponed repeatedly…
“You know, that’s the thing I tell you about the mental state, when the fight was postponed he was disappointed, but after that he said ‘You know what? It’s another day. This change is for the better’. And the fight’s been postponed different times. This is like the fourth time. He said that he just has to keep training and he will be waiting for the 20th to come. Before it was [December] 31st. Before the 31st it was the 17th, and before the 17th it was November 3rd. Right now it looks like it’s going to be January 20th. This fight has even changed even different venues and different cities.”
Whether he looks at Nonito Donaire as a threat to Rigondeaux…
“No. I don’t think Nonito Donaire is any threat to Rigondeaux. The only thing that I know for sure, is that his people, and his people around him, they don’t say anything, but they are going to try not to match Nonito with Rigondeaux. Rigondeaux is a real boxer and he can punch. Look at how the Argentinean (Omar Narvaez) made him look. He was not pressing the issue. He’s supposed to go and fight the guy. When people try to say that Nonito is a destroyer, he’s supposed to go after the guy and he couldn’t hit the guy no matter what. Nonito Donaire can’t deal with a boxer and we saw that in his last fight.”
Why Houston, Texas-based trainer Ronnie Shields isn’t with Rigondeaux this camp…
“Ronnie had other commitments I believe. I know he had to go to Mexico for a fight with [Kermit Cintron]. And also Ronnie went to Mexico for a couple weeks and Rigondeaux was scheduled to fight before. When they started, the fight was scheduled for the 17th and went to the 31st.”
For exclusive images of Nonito Donaire in training please visit the slideshow on the left or check out Donaire opens up Vegas camp for Vazquez Jr. clash
*** For bonus images of Manny Pacquiao’s memorable 2011 campaign, please visit 2011 in Pictures: Putting Pacquiao’s year into perspective
IMAGES FROM THE BOXING WORLD
A random stop by the Mayweather Boxing Club – Check out images of Roger Mayweather, Andre Dirrell, Celestino Caballero and others as they train in mid-December
2011 in Pictures – Juan Manuel Marquez – Take a look at Marquez’s 2011 campaign as he trains in Mexico City at the Romanza Gym, hits up Las Vegas, and goes to war with Manny Pacquiao
Andre Ward proves his worth with Froch victory-Oakland’s Andre Ward pulled out an impressive victory over Carl Froch to win the Super Six tournament.
Images from the 49th annual WBC Convention in Las Vegas – Opening ceremonies with Roy Jones Jr., Miguel Cotto, Roberto Duran, George Foreman, Saul Alvarez, Sugar Ray Leonard, and others / Bonus pics of Mike Tyson, Ricky Hatton, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and the Mayweathers
2011 in Pictures – Nonito Donaire – Relive the ‘Filipino Flash’ in 2011 including his fights with Montiel and Narvaez, his life outside of the ring, his intense training camp, and bonus shots
Shocking upset as Peterson defeats Amir Khan – Rising star and former champion Amir Khan is upset by underdog Lamont Peterson. Check the slideshow for a ringside view of the action
2011 in Pictures: Victor Ortiz – Relive the year that was for former champion Victor Ortiz, including his bouts with Andre Berto and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito II: Cotto carves up Margarito for 10th round TKO – a ringside view of Cotto’s TKO over Margarito / Inside the Cotto-Margarito II weigh-in- Both men ripped and ready but Brandon Rios loses title on scales / Inside the final, tense Cotto-Margarito II presser /Inside Miguel Cotto’s media workout in New York / Antonio Margarito and Brandon Rios hit up New York
Saul Alvarez calls out Mayweather – Saul ‘Canelo’ successfully defended his WBC junior middleweight crown against Kermit Cintron in Mexico and then called out Floyd Mayweather Jr. for a summer clash
Photo-journalist Chris Robinson – Exclusive images from Las Vegas Boxing Examiner Chris Robinson as he covers Nonito Donaire, Manny Pacquiao, the Mayweathers, Marcos Maidana, Amir Khan, the Tecate Girls and several other boxing personalities
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. defeats Manfredo – A ringside view of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s 5th round TKO over Peter Manfredo in Houston, Texas
A ringside view of Pacquiao vs. Marquez III – Candid shots from the compelling third encounter between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez
Bonus shots from Pacquiao-Marquez and a look at the post-fight presser – Extra shots from the third Pacquiao-Marquez fight and behind the scenes at the post-fight presser
The Pacquiao-Marquez Weigh-in – A look at the intense weigh in between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, including shots of Holyfield, Barrerra, Chavez Jr., several fans shots and more
A look inisde the final Pacquiao-Marquez III presser –Candid shots of the two fighters’ teams, a cameo appearance by Amir Khan, the Tecate Girls, and more
Behind the scenes at Pacquiao’s Vegas Grand Arrival –Go behind the scenes at Manny Pacquiao arrives to Las Vegas amidst a sea of fans for his clash with Juan Manuel Marquez
The danger of Toshiaki Nishioka to Nonito Donaire –What threat does WBC junior featherweight champion Toshiaki Nishioka pose to Nonito Donaire? Visit the slideshow for an inside look
Ringside with the Tecate Girls – Visit the slideshow for a look at the Tecate Girls on the scene in Las Vegas, entertaining at the fights, and in personal photo shoots
A look inside the Wild Card – Step up inside of the famous gym with the likes of Pacquiao, Khan, Chavez Jr., Shawn Porter, Alex Ariza, Alfredo Angulo, Freddie Roach, and several other boxing luminaries
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at Trimond@aol.com. Please follow him atwww.Twitter.com/CRHarmony