Happy Days Almost Here Again / Featherweight Fireworks
Well, It may not be the glory days of yesterday when the little men attracted prime U.S. television viewing, rightfully so by their skill set and punch count, with memories harking back to Wide World of Sports and Carlos Zarate vs. Zamora in the battle of the “Z Bombs” or Salvador Sanchez vs. Wilfredo Gomez, six of the top twelve featherweights will have been in action within the past seven days.
Jhonny Gonzalez was victorious this past weekend and Rocky Juarez, back in the top ten, was victorious on a Fort Bliss feel good promotion by Golden Boy, on behalf of the troops, on the 26th. Sharing Featherweight fireworks on the Nonito Donaire “Flash” card vs. Simpiwe Vetyeka is fellow WBA Champion Nicholas “The Axeman” Walters vs. Vic Darchinyan which will be two heavy handed punchers and a step up in grade for Walters.
He didn’t smile that weekend. There were no jokes that weekend. He was and is a serious man in a serious business that being the business of hurt. I first met Nonito Donaire Sr. while I was working in the corner of Lisa Brown to his corner of Ana Julaton. I will remember Sr.’s eyes as we both glanced at each other between rounds of that fight. He was the fully concentrated consummate professional. I would meet Donaire Sr. further when he was up in Canada for a Marvin Sonsona fight. The man is all business and one can only postulate that he will regenerate Nonito “The Flash” Donaire, if such regeneration is required.
This is a very difficult fight for Nonito Donaire as he’s fighting an opponent that looks to be very durable and fights with that inner Eastern pride, deep to the soul. I was ringside when Donaire landed that left hook for the ages against Montiel. I remember being slightly elbowed by my immediate ringside neighbor Antonio Margarito in the sheer moment of excitement. Donaire brings that wild card exhilaration of the possibility of electricity landing at any moment.
Pugilistic pun aside the “Flash” Donaire has an Axe to grind. Aside from an obvious potential collision course with the heavy fisted Nicholas “The Axeman” Walters, Donaire is still in a career comeback mode having lost to the superb Cuban. It is of course a heavy adjustment coming from a Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year and Pound for Pound high ranking to an immediate comeback career. An electrifying win this weekend puts Donaire right back in the mix of an increasingly deep talent pool Featherweight division.
The Axeman / A Few Weeks Back
Nicholas “The Axeman” Walters moves around a one hundred plus degree hot Panamanian gym. He hits the trainer’s mitts varying with speed and power and his size and length for Featherweight envisions immediate problems for opponents. He takes a brief moment to come over to say hello. I ask him if he has sights set on Nonito Donaire. He’s too smart and too much of a gentleman to answer but I can see an immediate gleam to his eyes.
Little is More
It is refreshing to see these lighter weight fighters, top ten, matching up against each other, and having TV exposure. Harkening back to those days of Tim Ryan and Gil Clancy and the likes of Zarate, Zamora, Little Red Lopez, Bobby Chacon, and a host of others, it would be fantastic if HBO and Showtime gave the smaller weights more exposure. Some of the most exciting fighters, including Luis Concepcion of Panama and the superbly gifted Roman Gonzalez, of Nicaragua, by purse punch for pay, would certainly do HBO, Showtime, and boxing fans proud not only by way of by way of high level professional punch product pleasure but by bottom line business numbers.
Featherweight fireworks are here, and come this weekend tune in and tune up!