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Donaire to return to junior featherweight division

Nonito Donaire wants to return to the ring, and is looking to drop back down a division to re-cultivate his past success.

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Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

Nonito is feeling that itch again. He wants to get back in the ring and compete. That's not necessarily an easy thing to wrap your head around after you've been brutally beaten up as he was against Nicholas Walters. In fact, Nonito wasn't even doing so well in his rematch with Vic Darchinyan either before he was able to land his home run punch. A lot of his 'decline' has been attributed to his lack of passion for the sport since the birth of his son (these things can happen and he doesn't need to apologize for it). But boxing isn't a sport where you really want to linger around. If you plan on being a professional fighter, you really need to be completely dedicated otherwise bad things will happen quickly - and often.

So apparently Nonito decided he wants to continue his career and has spoken to his manager, Cameron Dunkin, about where he should go from here. It appears back down to junior featherweight is the destination.

"That's what we are trying to do and he's going to fight at 122," Dunkin said. "We've talked about it but don't know who we are going to fight yet. But Nonito wants to fight and we'll get him fighting again. He knows he can't fight at that weight [126 pounds]. He can beat a lot of featherweights, don't get me wrong. But he's used to beating everyone and being the best. He's going back to 122 where he can do that."

This actually makes a good bit of sense, in my eyes. Nonito certainly has the ability to beat a lot of featherweights out there, but will he ever be 'the man' at featherweight? Well, Nicholas Walters said 'no' in pretty emphatic fashion. But despite the loss, Dunkin felt like Nonito was ever-so-close to KO'ing the Jamaican Axe Man.

"Nonito was one punch away from winning that fight in the second round," Dunkin said. "We had talked about it before the fight for a long time about moving up in weight all the time. I was against it. Those guys are so big, but he said, ‘Don't worry. I'll take care of it.' And he did. He won some fights at 126, but he didn't look like the Nonito we were used to. After [the Walters fight] was over, he said, ‘You're right, I can't fight these guys at 126. They're just too big.' So he'll go back down to 122 and become a champion again. He's not done and he has a lot of pride."

Ehh - most everyone is always "one punch away" from winning a fight (such is the nature of boxing), but I won't argue the logic here. Returning to 122 is probably the best thing for Donaire's career as he became accustomed to being the top dog, and fighting in a division where he can be bullied around will only serve to further ruin his confidence. Then again, I doubt he's returning to junior featherweight looking for a rematch with Rigo - as that was already enough of a humbling experience.

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