Dan Rafael: Gabriel Elizondo
August, 31, 2012
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
Unified junior featherweight titlist Nonito Donaire is one of the pound-for-pound stars of boxing and now a regular on HBO, making high six-figure purses. His next fight headlines an Oct. 13 HBO card against former titlist Toshiaki Nishioka.
But then there is Glenn Donaire (19-4-1, 10 KOs), Nonito’s older brother, who at 32 is still plugging away trying to reach the promised land of a championship.
A pro since 2000, he has had his opportunities and lost a few fights along the way. Early in his career, he dropped a six-round decision to fellow prospect Gabriel Elizondo. In 2005, fellow Filipino Z Gorres knocked him out in the first round. Yet Donaire wound up getting two world title fights but could not capitalize. He lost a six-round technical decision challenging Vic Darchinyan for a flyweight title (which Darchinyan eventually lost by one-punch knockout to Nonito in 2007). And in 2008, Glenn Donaire lost a shutout decision to junior flyweight titlist Ulises “Archie” Solis.
After that loss, Donaire retired for 3½ years. But since his return he has won two fights in a row, both televised by Telemundo, and looked pretty good both times. He stopped faded former strawweight titleholder Alex “Nene” Sanchez in December and won a competitive 12-round decision against former junior flyweight title challenger Omar Salado in March.
Donaire hooked up with manager Vinny Scolpino -- who has guided fighters such as Joshua Clottey and Joseph Agbeko -- to help him with his comeback, which will continue Sept. 14 (Telemundo) in Tampa against Omar Soto (22-9-2, 15 KOs), a former flyweight and junior flyweight title challenger. They’re meeting for a regional flyweight title that will help the winner move up one of the sanctioning body rankings and closer to a bigger title shot.
Scolpino has been encouraged by what he has seen in Donaire’s two return fights.
“I picked him up two fights ago. He was down in the dumps. I started managing him, got him two wins and he is back in the gym training hard,” Scolpino said. “He looked really good in Mexico City (in March in the Salado fight). I was a little worried because of the altitude, but he did a great job and now he’s going in with Soto, who is a tough opponent.”
With his name and an apparent rededication to boxing, Donaire might just be able to move into position for a title shot.
“We’re hoping after this fight we’ll get one,” Scolpino said. “We’ll take anybody. Glenn said, ‘I don’t care who they put in front of me, I just want to fight for a title and win a title.’”