Filipino Flash vs. Fernando Montiel THIS Saturday!
Nonito Donaire will face Fernando Montiel this Saturday at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. The showdown has received a lot of attention as the two tough warriors are set to explode this weekend in a title fight promoted by Top Rank in association with Zanfer Promotions, airing on HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” series.
A pivotal member of Team Donaire is the champion’s wife, Rachel Marcial Donaire. The couple married on 8/8/08 and will have a church wedding on 11/11/11. After the “Filipino Flash’s” fourth-round knockout of Wladimir Sidorenko this past December, the dynamic pair have endured both worldwide scrutiny and universal fan attention. The petite powerhouse has also received a lot of attention for being vocal in her opinions. And following a parental rift between Nonito and his father, many fans lashed out against the spunky brunette. However she may–or may not be–perceived by the fans and critics, Rachel has always been thoughtful, friendly and down-to-earth at all of the various boxing functions I have seen her at through the years. No diva antics from this girl.
Always prepared, many may not know that Nonito’s wife keeps an asthma inhaler ready at hand for each and every fight, just in case the champ needs it. Donaire’s debilitating asthma attacks first occurred while training for his Moruti Mthalane fight back in 2008.
In this exclusive video during January’s press luncheon at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, listen in as Rachel explains how Nonito (with his weakened lungs) has fought back and continues to win the battle against his crippling asthma, how he kept his weight down with all the traveling during the holidays, and how he is thriving in his training with the controversial BALCO founder, Victor Conte.
In our interview, the bubbly young woman also shares the nickname Donaire’s stablemate, the always-hyper Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios, has affectionately given her. Filmed at the recent news conference to kick off the fight, you will also hear how Nonito’s special intermittent “hypoxic training” has helped the world titlist strengthen his lungs–and help keep his stamina strong–as he prepares for his toughest test yet.
And while the glamorous Rachel is always stylishly dressed with impeccable hair and makeup, she is no cream puff. Yes, the pretty lady has appeared as a swimsuit model in popular magazines, but she is one tough-as-nails, fearless female who has served in the U.S. Air Force for five years and has been a reserve for three years now. Nonito’s wife is also a martial arts world-class athlete and a Tae Kwon Do champ; the high-kicking knockout queen holds a black belt in the sport. In business ventures, she is also a Vera Coulture fashion entrepreneur and humanitarian with her successful line of custom handbags native to the Philippines.
During last month’s press conference, I asked Rachel to pose with her dukes up, fighter style. She first put her hands in the pockets of her dress, smiling a little shyly. Then she got into the spirit of the moment as she got her “game face” on and struck a pose. As her husband was being besieged by the media, Mrs. Donaire told me with a laugh, “I fight like Nonito! I fight with my hands down.”
Being a strong female in boxing is a precarious thing; strong and confident women in a male-dominated sport sometimes get a bad rap as Rachel, herself, has probably learned. Fully confident in her husband’s abilities, she does not shy away from being in his corner. She has appeared to always being upfront in voicing her opinions and supports her husband’s career 101%. As that old adage goes, “You’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t.” What wife wouldn’t stand by her man? But some have criticized her for lending her voice as Nonito has climbed an upward trajectory toward complete pound-for-pound supremacy.
Now in just a few days, Donaire, the WBC Continental Americas Bantamweight titlist, will have the spotlight shine on him once again as he faces his most critical fight to date–the formidable “Cochulito” Montiel from Los Mochis. The bout, scheduled for 12 rounds, will take place in the Mecca of boxing–Las Vegas.
This Mecca is a world away from the General Santos City province a young Nonito grew up in. Donaire is a fighter who survived a poverty-stricken childhood that included being bullied about his physical appearance as a kid–and later raging a war against asthma as an adult.
Training out of the Undisputed Boxing Gym in San Carlos, California, the Pinoy puncher, working with Oxnard’s Robert Garcia, has reached heights of success he could only dream of as a poor village child whose stomach was always empty and whose feet often went shoeless. Donaire has fought back and continues to fight his way to the very top. Standing in his way this Saturday night will be the beloved Mexican warrior, “Cochulito” Montiel.
With 44 victories and 34 knockouts in the win column, Fernando Montiel cannot be underestimated. This marquee matchup for the WBC and WBO Bantamweight Championships is a pivotal one for both fighters. While Nonito may be the odds-on favorite at the sportsbooks, this bout has boxing aficionados around the world salivating.
Should his hand be raised in victory this weekend, the “Filipino Flash” will guarantee his spot and legacy in the championship pound-for-pound rankings.
But there is one woman who already knows he’s #1 in the ring–and in her heart–and that would be his wife, Rachel Donaire.
Michele Chong has been involved in the sport of boxing for over a decade. Her “Chatter Box” column covers a variety of subjects in both professional and amateur boxing, and features exclusive one-on-one interviews, recaps of fight events, shows and tournaments, book/film reviews and much more.
Inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008, she is also a member of the World Boxing Hall of Fame, Golden State Boxer’s Association and the Burbank Boxing Club. Michele is also involved in many non-profit and charitable organizations.