Nonito Donaire has been a top-rated fighter from flyweight to featherweight, winning nine major world titles in four weight classes, during his 21-year pro career. Photo by Esther Lin / SHOWTIME
Nonito Donaire prides himself on being an upstanding citizen, in or out of the ring. That includes lending advice to prizefighters, including prospects.
Donaire has not only lent advice in recent months to unbeaten bantamweight Dylan Price, but he will work his corner tonight as Price squares off against Jobert Alvarez at the Llevate Events Center in Chester, Pennsylvania. The 10-round bout will stream live on profetsplus.com ($24.99, 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT).
At Friday’s weigh-in, Price weighed in at 117.8 pounds. Alvarez weighed 117.2 pounds.
Price (15-0, 10 KOs), who resides in nearby Sicklerville, last fought on July 16, defeating Drew Correll by unanimous decision. The win over Correll took place almost a year after Price defeated Edwin Rodriguez by decision.
The 24-year-old was in Puerto Rico for the recent WBO Convention, which Donaire also attended. Both came across one another, and the chance meeting that began with a handshake quickly turned to inquiring about Donaire’s services in the gym.
“I like to give advice, especially to young fighters,” said Donaire in an interview with publicist Marc Abrams. “We spent time and hung out (at the convention) and I got a good vibe from them. A couple of weeks later, they hit me up and asked if I could come to the Philadelphia area to help train them.”
After arriving at Price’s training camp, Donaire, a world titleholder in four different weight classes, was impressed with the skill-set of Price, along with younger brother, Devin. Not only did Donaire spend time fine-tuning both fighters and their ring generalship, but he also explained the mental approach to fights.
“One thing about Dylan and (younger brother) Devin, they were very attentive,” said Donaire, who made his pro debut in February 2001. “My training regimen is different, and although they were (struggling), they kept pushing. To me, that was more than enough to tell me that they have potential. But because they have that work ethic, even if it hurts their bodies, they’re just going to keep pushing.
“We haven’t worked long enough (yet), but one thing that I implemented in them is how to have a strong mindset. The champion mindset is a crucial thing to have as a fighter. And I see it in them. When I needed them to push, they pushed. We worked on a lot of strategies for this fight. The way I see fights. (Their strong) mentality is what they implemented into this fight.”
Donaire has stated he would continue working with both fighters, so long as they continue to want to work hard in the gym.
“Anything less or they do not want to work hard, I will go in a different direction.”
Price has fought on a handful of Mayweather Promotions and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) cards. Working with Donaire could open the door for more opportunities later this year or next year.
How they pan out down the road remains to be seen, but Donaire believes neither have yet reached their ceiling.
“They definitely have the potential,” said Donaire. “They’re different in how they fight. I separate how they fight and what they’re good at. It’s just a matter of them working at it and getting better. I think they’re going to reach the ceiling of being a world champion. They just have to keep learning and keep growing. It’s a work ethic and the mindset. I see the heart in both of them. They’re both coachable.”
Price will face Alvarez (20-4-2, 7 KOs), who is originally from the Philippines and now resides in Renton, Washington. The 33-year-old has lost his last two fights after winning his previous three.
Devin Price will make his pro debut against Argentina’s Matias Arriagada (6-10, 3 KOs) in a four-round junior welterweight bout.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]