Nonito Donaire will be looking to win a world title in a fourth weight class (fifth if you count an interim title held at 115 pounds) on May 31 in Macau, when he faces WBA featherweight champ Simpiwe Vetyeka, and the struggles of 2013 are, he says, behind him.
Donaire (32-2, 21 KO) lost convincingly last April to Guillermo Rigondeaux, then struggled badly before rallying for a second stoppage win against old rival Vic Darchinyan in November.
"I have a new fire to keep my career going. The thing is, I won many fights over 12 years and got complacent. I'm not going to lie about that. Losing made me reevaluate my goals. I wanted to do more research on how to be better, stronger and smarter. I want to have that long winning streak back again. Also, I have my son and I want to give him all I can. I need to look at my boxing as a career and not just something I do."
Donaire, 31, was the majority pick for 2012 Fighter of the Year before crashing back to earth last year. Vetyeka (26-2, 16 KO) is the underdog in this fight -- no matter what Arum has said or convinced any of the media, Donaire is by no means the underdog, as he's a 6 or 7 to 1 favorite -- but he's won two straight against Daud Yordan and Chris John, ending the latter's long undefeated streak and run as WBA champ at 126 pounds, retiring the Indonesian veteran in the process.
But if Darchinyan can trouble Donaire, there's no reason to suspect that Vetyeka can't do the same. It seems like a long time ago that Donaire was considered one of the pound-for-pound elite, but in fact it's only been a year since he was outclassed by Rigondeaux.
Will Nonito have something new, or is it just the usual pre-fight talk? Will his well-publicized style issues haunt him again?