Updated: February 12, 2010, 4:40 PM ET

Donaire trying to focus on here and now

Rafael By Dan Rafael
Nonito DonaireAP Photo/Aaron FavilaNonito Donaire, right, knows the hardest aspect of Saturday's fight will be not looking past it.

Whether Nonito Donaire faces Gerson Guerrero or last-minute substitute Manuel Vargas, it doesn't really matter. The "Filipino Flash" is supposed to win. He knows it. Manager Cameron Dunkin knows it, and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum knows it.

They all know that if Donaire takes care of Vargas, an opponent only secured Wednesday after Guerrero failed a prefight eye exam, the door for a series of important fights will likely be open.

Donaire, a regular on the pound-for-pound list, will defend his interim junior bantamweight title against Mexico's Vargas on Saturday night (Top Rank PPV, 9 ET, $39.95) at the Las Vegas Hilton in the main event of "Latin Fury 13/Pinoy Power 3."

Despite the fact that few expect Donaire (22-1, 14 KOs) to have any serious issues with Vargas (26-4-1, 11 KOs), he's trying not to get too far ahead of himself.

"That's the hardest part for a fighter, not looking ahead," Donaire said. "It's a lot of pressure on your shoulders. This fight is a gate for my future fights. I have to fight this fight first before I get those bigger names. This is where I've seen fighters stumble and not get their biggest fight. I try to stay focused as much as I can. When I train, though, I get the vision of fighting those other guys and it's hard to focus on this guy.

"I'm not purposely looking ahead, but part of my mind and body is so excited about those other fights that it's hard not to. So this fight is sort of like the motivation. I trained so hard because I don't want to stumble."

Those "other fights" Donaire is talking about include a rematch with unified division champion Vic Darchinyan, whom Donaire knocked out in a 2007 flyweight title fight; Jorge Arce, the charismatic action star who claimed a title a couple of weeks ago; and bantamweight titleholder Fernando Montiel, who defends his belt against Ciso Morales in one of the televised undercard bouts.

"I definitely want to fight those guys, especially Arce and Darchinyan," said Donaire, who is friends with Arce. "It's now or never because my body is feeling the pain of cutting down weight and it's doing more harm than good. I am concentrating on making the weight more than on being in shape, so it's now or never. If those guys want to step up, fine, but we have to schedule it. I want it on paper that we'll make it happen. Boxing is a short life span. I want to reach my potential. If I stay at 115 for a while, it will limit me from where I want to be."

Where he'd like to be is eventually at featherweight, where he says Israel Vazquez has called him out.

"What I want from Darchinyan is the two belts he holds. From Arce, I want the belt he holds," Donaire said. "I don't really want to wait for an opportunity that will take a long time to happen. I want to do those fights, Montiel at 118 and then you have Vazquez. Let's go."

Said Dunkin, "Nonito is 26. He wants the high-profile fights. It's just a matter of putting them together. He's ready to make the move."

Donaire iced Darchinyan with one massive punch in the fifth round to score the upset. A rematch has been talked about since. Now that Darchinyan is the champion at the heavier weight and Donaire is technically his mandatory challenger, it makes all the sense in the world.

"I'm in favor of that rematch," Arum said.

Darchinyan has a Showtime fight on March 6 against Rodrigo Guerrero, but after that his camp is as ready as he is to make the fight.

"I'm on record saying that we're ready to sit down and negotiate that fight on March 7," said Gary Shaw, Darchinyan's promoter.

"Gary said that he could do it in August on Showtime," Dunkin said. "In fact, Darchinyan is fighting [March 6] because he wants to stay on schedule with Donaire."

Arce was beaten down by Darchinyan over 11 lopsided rounds in February 2009. It looked like that might be the end of Arce, who won his next fight but then lost a clear decision to Simphiwe Nongqayi for a vacant belt in September. However, Arce remained alive for another significant fight when he soundly defeated Angky Angkota to claim a vacant belt last month. An Arce-Donaire bout is easy to make because they are both promoted by Top Rank.

"To me, I love Jorge Arce and I only can see one way the Donaire fight ends, which is not so good for Arce," Arum said. "But if [co-promoter] Fernando [Beltran] and Arce want to do it, I would go along, but it wouldn't make me happy."

Donaire wants to fight both guys.

"I would love the rematch with Darchinyan. I want to make it happen," he said. "Everyone wants it. I dissected his style and he hasn't changed. I am ready for it. I'm trying to go after his two belts. But for me, it doesn't matter what order it is. If I get Darchinyan, then I want Arce next. If I get Arce, then I want Darchinyan next. That's what I want to make happen. And then I am ready to move up to 118 and take on Montiel. I think that's the best scenario. If I get past Montiel, I am ready for 122 right away."

While at ringside Saturday, Dunkin will be watching Montiel closely in anticipation of a possible fight with Donaire.

"The Arce and Darchinyan fights are doable, but Montiel is for sure," he said. "I would think that will happen, and I will be watching Montiel closely. That's a terrific fight when Nonito gets to 118."

Arum, who also promotes Montiel, said it's a fight he would also like to make.

"Donaire is a terrific fighter, a terrific talent," Arum said. "He says he is going to go all the way up to featherweight, which means a helluva lot of good matches for him."

The smaller fights, like Donaire-Vargas, are often money-losers for Top Rank, which makes it all the more important to get the higher-profile matches made.

"All you can do is just keep going," Arum said. "You keep him busy and hope you get lightning in a bottle. Other than Showtime, which has showcased Darchinyan, there is really no market for these little guys in America, which is sad because they are very good fighters. So what we have to do is resort to our own devices and do these pay-per-views which can showcase them, and hopefully do enough revenue to pay for it. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. It's a lot of work, not a lot of reward. But these kids deserve a chance."

With a win, it looks like Donaire will get his.

Jones-Hopkins II undercard

AP Photo/Danny MoloshokIs it that time again? Sergio Mora, right, who hasn't fought since 2008, may finally have a match.

Golden Boy and Square Ring are working on the televised undercard for the Bernard Hopkins-Roy Jones Jr. pay-per-view April 3, and a few fights are under discussion, all of which would match a Golden Boy fighter against a Square Ring boxer.

Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz told ESPN.com that one of the bouts being discussed is former junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora against "The Haitian Sensation" Daniel Edouard (22-2-2, 13 KOs).

Mora (21-1-1, 5 KOs), who was supposed to fight Jan. 30 on the Shane Mosley-Andre Berto undercard before the show was canceled, hasn't fought since losing his title via decision in a rematch with the late Vernon Forrest in September 2008. Edouard, who is on a four-fight winning streak, probably is best known for being knocked out by Jermain Taylor in three rounds in 2005 in the fight before Taylor beat Hopkins to become undisputed middleweight champ.

"We like that fight," Cameron Dunkin, Mora's manager, told ESPN.com. "It's a tough fight, a hard fight, but Sergio is ready and wants a good opponent and wants to be on pay-per-view."

Another bout being discussed would match junior lightweight titlist Rocky Juarez (28-5-1, 20 KOs) against Jason Litzau (26-2, 21 KOs).

Golden Boy, which promotes Mora and Juarez, wants to make both fights. Square Ring CEO John Wirt said he wasn't necessarily interested in either bout.

Another fight Wirt said was being discussed would match Ukrainian light heavyweight Ismayl Sillakh (11-0, 10 KOs), a standout amateur who signed Wednesday with Square Ring, and Golden Boy's Enrique Ornelas (29-6, 19 KOs), who dropped a lopsided decision to Hopkins in December.

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com.


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