Former junior featherweight titlist Nonito Donaire is recovering from right shoulder surgery that followed his unanimous decision loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux in their 122-pound title unification fight on April 13.
"It's just tender, totally tender," Donaire told ESPN.com on Tuesday. "I'm trying to stretch it and I'm in physical therapy, trying to get it stretched out and get the shoulder back to normal."
Donaire, the consensus 2012 fighter of the year, said he was troubled by the shoulder throughout training camp but went through with the fight anyway. Dr. Shabi Kahn performed the arthroscopic surgery on Friday at Seton Medical Center in Dale City, Calif.
Donaire told ESPN.com that Kahn repaired two tears, one to his labrum and one to his rotator cuff, and shaved a bone spur during the procedure. Donaire said he only suspected one tear when he went to the doctor, but that the second tear and bone spur were discovered during the surgery.
"They fixed it up and when they were doing it they found the bone spur and bone basically floating in the middle of my joint that they vacuumed out," he said. "The doctor did an amazing job. I'm already moving my arm. They expect me to be in a sling, but I don't like being confined. They said the procedure went well and that if I can bear the pain, I could move it around and stretch, just not anything too strenuous. So I'm not wearing a sling and I'm stretching it out, but it feels like somebody is constantly punching me in the arm."
Donaire said the shoulder had bothered him for quite some time but that it got worse earlier this year.
"I've always felt the pain for quite a while," he said. "The right shoulder was bothering me bad. I went to the doctor in January and the doctor was freaking me out saying he thought it was a full tear. But I wanted to fight. In the back of my head I thought it could be a career-ender, but I wanted to fight and all during training camp I didn't use my right. I thought I would be able to do good with setting everything up with the left. Going into a fight with an elite fighter not at 100 percent is a big mistake and that is something I learned. You can't take anyone lightly."
Donaire said he should be able to train again in about seven weeks. He said that originally the doctor thought he would be sidelined for four to six months, but that "it's healing really well. We got the best-case scenario with the tears. They were able to close it really well, take care of everything around it and shave the bone [spur]."
Donaire (31-2, 20 KOs), 30, a native of the Philippines based in San Leandro, Calif., is also having trouble with a bone spur in his left shoulder and he said that when his right is healed, he will have the left one treated.
"I have to get the left one fixed also," Donaire said. "Every time I move at a different angle, the tendon is rubbing against the bone, so once my right shoulder heals I will go back and get the left one done, and I will come back stronger.
"I learned in that fight [with Rigondeaux], it's a learning experience to make me stronger when I come back."
When he does return, probably in the fall, Donaire, whose wife is expecting their first child, a son, in July, said he likely will move up one division to featherweight.
"I think 122 is kind of too small for me at this point, but with proper weight management I could make it happen, but only if I could get a rematch [with Rigondeaux]," Donaire said.
But he also acknowledged that Top Rank, his promoter, could offer him a fight with Mexico's Victor Terrazas, who claimed a vacant junior featherweight title via split decision against countryman Cristian Mijares on Saturday night in Mexico City.
"If Top Rank is giving me Terrazas, I guess maybe," Donaire said. "I feel I would be more comfortable and stronger at 126. I just want to fight the best out there."