This coming weekend at Macau, our very own Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire will square off with South African Simpiwe Vetyeka.
Donaire (32-2 with 21 knockouts) is aiming for the World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight title held by Vetyeka (26-2 with 16 KOs), and there are doubts if the Filipino still has what it takes to deliver an exciting performance.
In his last performance on November 11, 2013, Donaire looked tentative in the earlier rounds against former champion Vic Darchinyan although the Filipino delivered a ninth-round stoppage that started with a left hook that seemed to come out of nowhere.
On the other hand, Vetyeka registered a stoppage win against former undefeated WBA champion Chris John (48-1 with 22 KOs), but the Indonesian wasn’t really knocked out or felled three times to justify a stoppage. John simply failed to answer the bell for the sixth round.
I hate to denigrate John, but the reality is that he never had high-profiled fights outside of Asia like Donaire and Manny Pacquiao. And Vetyeka?
At this point, it seems that very few writers are giving Donaire a chance to win via blowout or in a spectacular manner, or the way he won over Toshiaki Nishioka, Fernando Montiel and Darchinyan in their first fight.
While there is still some mystery toward Vetyeka, but my take is he wasn’t really impressive in his fight against John. And I would not believe that John would be able to beat the version of Darchinyan that battled Donaire the second time around.
Vetyeka won’t even be having a big reach and height advantage over Donaire, because both stand not above 5’7”. www.boxrec.com even lists the reach of Vetyeka at 67.5 inches and Donaire at 68 inches.
And closely observing his fight against John, Vetyeka ate a lot of left hooks from the Indonesian although much of those punches did not carry power. We all know Donaire’s money punch—the left hook. And just imagine if the left hook of Donaire that downed Darchinyan in his second fight landed squarely against Vetyeka.
If Donaire regains his old form, or the one he had before he lost to Guillermo Rigondeaux on April 13, 2013, he would easily blow out Vetyeka. But if the version of Donaire that faced Darchinyan the second time around battled the South African, expect the Filipino to take some punishment before scoring a late round stoppage.
Weight problems dogged Donaire in his fight against Rigondeaux, but based on news from the Filipino’s camp, he is two to three pounds away from the 126-pound limit from the beginning of this week.
Another good thing going for Donaire is his father, Nonito Sr., is now taking the lead for his son’s training. Robert Garcia may be one of the best trainers in the sport today, but he seems more focused on his younger brother Mikey.
If Donaire wins over Vetyeke this coming weekend, expect Bob Arum to line him up against undefeated Nicholas Walters (23-0 with 19 knockouts) if the Jamaican wins over Darchinyan in the undercard at Macau.
While Walters has a good knockout ratio and is undefeated, he has not faced anyone of note. But beating Darchinyan will be a good boost to his record if his win will be more resounding than Donaire’s stoppage win over the Armenian last year.
Donaire-Walters is interesting, but Donaire-Mikey Garcia is definitely intriguing.