The Killer Instinct, The Fear Factor and the Pacman

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Nonito Donaire:  The Killer Instinct, The Fear Factor and the Pacman
Nonito Donaire fights with a killer instinct.
No fear.
Donaire is not only flash in the ring, but superior fistic ability.
Rewatching Donaire’s second round knockout of Fernando Montiel on February 19, Donaire is seen combining speed, power and strategy.
Donaire was not fearful of Montiel’s right hand, it gave him the perfect setup for a brutal left hook, jerking Montiel’s head back grotesquely as his body gave out and he fell to the canvas.
Telling Max Kellerman following the fight “I just wanted to see how his body was, where his head was going to be and thats when I timed it”  was not bravado for Donaire.

He believes that he can see the fight that way.
Interviewing him weeks before the fight, Donaire shared with me a similar sentiment.
“I enjoy the challenge,” Donaire said. “I can now go into the ring and think of a plan.”
Former head of BALCO Victor Conte, who works on conditioning Donaire, knows there is something special about Donaire.
When you hear Victor Conte talk about Nonito Donaire, a palpable excitement can be heard in his gravely voice.
From the beginning of their partnership in July of 2010, Conte said he could tell immediately that Donaire was  someone who had tremendous belief in his ability.
Conte describes Nonaire as a complete package of confidence, poise and power.
“I have been around many atheletes,”  Conte said.  ”Many guys have the physical gifts, Nonito has the mental gifts as well.”
The mental gifts give Donaire the cool-headed decision making needed to excel in the split-second combat of boxing.
Donaire describes stepping into the ring as similar to jumping out of a plane, an incomparable exhilaration, there was a time, though, when all Donaire could think about was the parachute not opening.
Donaire carried fear with him for  much of his early career.  He fought out of desperation not as a predator but as the prey,  his speed helping him land punches quickly and move out of danger.
When Donaire talks about some of the fights in his career you can hear in his voice a quiver of the old Donaire, the one who, as a teenager, did not want to go to US Karate and Boxing to learn the sport, the one who did not want to join the professional ranks, to whom the word “quit” was a mantra, the one with fear in his heart.
What changed Donaire from the cowardly lion to king of the ring cannot be instantly pinpointed.
There are significant chapters of his career though that can be pieced together to show the evolution of his fighting mind.
Fellow pound-for-pound best and close friend Andre Ward helping Donaire when he was at a crossroads in his career is one.
Ward not only helped Donaire to believe in his ability, he opened Donaire up to god.
Donaire credits Ward for helping him spark his passion for boxing.
Ward is also inspired by Donaire.  As talent fuses to desire Ward feels that Donaire “can rewrite the history books if he continues to win.  He has that kind of potential.”
Another turning moment in Donaire’s career came with his 2007 knockout of then-undefeated Vic “Raging Bull”  Darchinyan.  Coming into the fight as a 7-1 underdog, Donaire had something to prove.
When Donaire talks about fighting Darchinyan, it is not the voice of a man with fear in his heart but blood on his teeth.
“I knew I was going to knock him out,”  Donaire said.  ”I told everyone that, but they thought I was desperate.”
Following Donaire’s left hook knockout of Darchinyan, Donaire would rack up knockouts in 7 of his next 8 fights.  Previous to this Donaire only had 10 knockouts in his first 18 fights.
A third factor in the evolution of Donaire is the forming of a team around him that played to his strengths.
Bringing Robert Garcia to Team Donaire in 2009 and Conte in 2010 helped fuel, in Donaire’s words, his inspiration and motivation.
“He was going to attract whatever he needed to achieve his goal,” said Conte.
Somewhere along the line for Donaire, desperation turned to desire, fear and loathing turned to love.
All these factors combined to form a fighter who learned to love boxing, not afraid to throw a hard punch when the opportunity presents itself, not afraid to take a punch to open up an opportunity.
More than the sharing of a Filipino background, this is why Donaire is compared to Manny Pacquiao, the excitement he serves the audience.
Both Pacquiao and Donaire give the fans a glimpse of unique talent and when the opportunity presents itself they are not afraid to pull the trigger.
“I have no fear in my heart now, and the excitement is unbelievable,” said Donaire.

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