Boxing Donaire vs Darchinyan preview: A new chapter for Nonito Donaire

Ethan Miller

Saturday night, Nonito Donaire returns to action for the first time since his loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux. This is the start of a new chapter for Donaire, but where will it take him?

Saturday November 9, Bloody Elbow presents live fight coverage of Mikey Garcia vs Rocky Martinez, live on HBO. HBO Boxing After Dark Martinez vs Garcia airs live this Saturday, November 9 with a fight time of 9:30 p.m. ET / PT. Bloody Elbow will have live fight coverage, including results and discussion, right here.

What a difference one fight can make. A year ago, Nonito Donaire was riding high. The 2012 Fighter of the Year in most polls, Donaire had gone 4-0 for the year, establishing himself as a pound for pound great, and a legitimate draw on top of that. His association with VADA made him the perceived gold standard for clean fighters in an era of PED suspensions. And then...

April 13, 2013. Radio City Music Hall. Guillermo Rigondeaux. Donaire faced a stiff test from the undefeated Cuban fighter. And Donaire failed that test. When challenged by the supremely technical skills of Rigondeaux, Donaire could not find a solution. He was outpointed, outboxed, and lost a decision. But there should be no shame in that loss. Rigondeaux is one of the best in the world - surely losing to a fighter of his caliber is not damning, right?

But that's not how things have played out. Since the loss, an anti-Donaire sentiment has sprung up. Perhaps it's frustration over his hype. Perhaps it's anger over what many perceived to be a boring stinker of a fight against Rigondeaux. Whatever the cause, the tide of public opinion has turned against Nonito Donaire.

More Garcia vs Martinez coverage:
Bloody Elbow | Bad Left Hook

Now, just one year after being called the best fighter of the year, Donaire is on the undercard. He fights on Saturday in the co-main event slot, taking on Vic Darchinyan and being forced to yield the spotlight to Mikey Garcia and Rocky Martinez. It's an odd position to see Donaire in - from fighter of the year to supporting status, all because of one loss.

This puts Donaire in an interesting position Saturday night. A loss here, particularly to the underdog Darchinyan, would be a disaster. He's already lost all of his momentum from 2012 and he can't afford to let any more of his position slip away. So the key directive for Saturday night is simple - win.

But at the same time, Donaire has to be questioning his style and how to best approach the fight. On the one hand, he could go back to his roots: re-engage the technical skills that he has let slide just a bit lately and try to outbox Darchinyan. On the other hand, he could decide that a big, flashy win is of the utmost importance, going all in for the big KO, even if it means getting a bit sloppy.

No matter what he chooses, this is the start of a new chapter in the book of Nonito Donaire - a chapter tentatively titled The Road Back. He's in a new weight class, and for the first time in 12 years, he's dealing with the sting of a loss. How well he deals with that sting and the accompanying change in his status will say a lot about just where this new story goes.

Join us here at Bloody Elbow for HBO Boxing After Dark Martinez vs Garcia results, discussion, and live fight coverage this Saturday November 9.

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