Fampton v Donaire: Nonito ready to start writing the latest chapter of a glittering career, maintains coach Bazzel
A glance at the bookmakers odds should have the Nonito Donaire camp wishing they were somewhere else, but long-time coach Mike Bazzel insists that tonight will be the start of an Indian summer.
Bazzel knows the consensus theory ahead of Donaire's meeting with Carl Frampton: 35-year-old on the way down loses to hometown favourite ready to rule the world again.
But the American isn't buying into such thoughts, rather he suggests the practice of his fighter in camp suggests the Filipino Flash will rip up the script and start a new storyline.
Donaire has worked with Bazzel for the past 20 bouts, together sailing through boxing's sun-splashed surf as well as the choppy waters of loss - and now together they have an audacious plan to hit the crest of a wave once more.
"Nonito believes this is the start of a new chapter, that's what we're hoping for because he wants to fight until he is 40," said Bazzel, speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph.
"Things can change in boxing very quickly because boxing is the ultimate make or break sport - in every other sport you can get hammered in the first quarter and come back in the next three quarters but one mistake could end it on Saturday night.
"I think we have a big factor in Nonito's punching power but I feel it could be a 12-round battle. I'm not relying on him stopping Carl because I have a lot of respect for Carl.
"I believe he can produce a performance to beat Frampton because Nonito is young in the mind, he has matured physically… I think with the experience and the fact that his body has not betrayed him is key."
It has not gone unnoticed that Donaire won and lost his featherweight title in 2014 before returning to super-bantamweight once more for further world championship success, winning the WBO belt before losing it to Jesse Magdaleno in 2016.
Bazzel added: "Nonito has fought at a very, very high level for a long period. For a time there, everyone he fought was for the belt, everything was on the line and we have been there and done that with the scientific approach to boxing.
"You know Nonito was one of the very first boxers to have 24/7, 365 days a year testing. The VADA testing that is popular now, he gave himself up to that years ago. When you fight at that high level you can't win all the time because it's such a high level. When he was featherweight champion he fought Nicholas Walters who was a very big man and lost… he's now ready for the featherweight division.
"He could have gone another way to a world title shot but when Frampton was mentioned I didn't hesitate about taking the fight because I like what Frampton brings. I like his style, it will gel well with Nonito.
"Nonito has a special quality, he's born for this but didn't know he was born for this. He's a late bloomer because he has come from no confidence in himself as a young boy who never dreamed he could be at this stage.
"He's ready to make a big statement again. Obviously you have to put it all together on Saturday night but he has done it so many times, he knows what to do."
Tale of the tape
Born: Belfast, N Ireland
Nickname: The Jackal
Weight: 8st 13lbs 3oz
Height: 5ft 5in
Total Fights: 25
Total Rounds: 162
Born: Talibon, Philippines
Nickname: Filipino Flash
Weight: 8st 13lbs 8oz
Height: 5ft 5 ½in
Total Fights: 42
Total Rounds: 255