MANILA, Philippines - As if there’s not enough good news for WBO superbantamweight champion Nonito Donaire Jr. who’s sweeping Fighter of the Year honors in various polls recently conducted by authoritative organizations like ESPN and The Ring Magazine, he just got the best of them all.
Donaire’s wife Rachel confirmed the other day she’s pregnant. The couple is expecting their first child in July. She’s 13 weeks on the way. A 4-D sonogram will reveal the gender of the baby when Rachel visits her doctor for a check-up on Jan. 25.
“Nonito was jumping up and down when he heard the news,” she told The Star in a long distance telephone call. “We’re very happy and excited. He’s knocked out by the news. There’s a video showing his reaction and it’ll be on the Filipino Flash website. For a while, it was 50-50. We couldn’t be sure because one of three pregnancy tests I took turned out negative.”
When Donaire flew to Manila a week before Christmas, he came alone, raising speculation that his wife stayed in Las Vegas because she was under doctor’s orders. Asked if Rachel was pregnant, Donaire denied it. At the time, nobody could be sure.
“We didn’t want to raise expectations because if it didn’t happen, we would’ve been really disappointed,” said Rachel. “When Nonito left for Manila, I decided to stay behind and wait for another test since my first three tests were inconclusive. I didn’t want to build up stress.”
While Donaire was in Manila attending to media commitments, Rachel finished up projects including the purchase of a new house in a gated Las Vegas community about 10 minutes from the strip and a 10-week-old Cane Corso Italian breed female dog named Zena. The dog was Donaire’s gift to his wife.
Rachel said Donaire hasn’t gone back to the gym for boxing drills since the holiday break but is working out to stay in shape. “He’s doing core exercises, running and keeping in condition,” she said. “We’re waiting for (Top Rank president) Todd (duBoef) to come back from his trip to Asia then we’ll talk about Nonito’s next fight. It could be in March but nothing is sure yet. We still don’t know who his opponent will be. We heard from (Top Rank chairman) Bob (Arum) that the fight will be in Asia, maybe Macau or Singapore.”
DuBoef, whose mother Lovee is Arum’s wife, reportedly inspected possible venues in Macau and Singapore for a Donaire title fight. WBA superbantamweight ruler Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba and WBC titleholder Abner Mares are often mentioned as options for Donaire who hopes to unify the 122-pound championships before moving up to the featherweight division.
Rachel’s father Gerry Marcial, an airline engineer who also heads Donaire’s security, said his daughter’s primary physician is Dr. Charles Antonini of Daly City. Her obstetrician-gynecologist is Dr. Clair Serr.
Donaire has so far taken Fighter of the Year honors awarded by Yahoo! Sports, ESPN, boxing scene.com, The Ring Magazine, badlefthook.com and the WBO. He has been nominated for the Sugar Ray Robinson award by the Boxing Writers Association of America. Not only has Donaire impressed in the ring but also out of it. Donaire went unbeaten in four world title fights last year and made headlines by becoming the first fighter to voluntarily declare himself available for drug-testing 24/7/365.
Last Dec. 15, Donaire capped his year by demolishing Jorge Arce in the third round in Houston. Jack Hirsch, writing in Boxing News, said with four impressive wins in 2012, “Donaire is starting to look almost invincible.” Hirsch added that with the stoppage, “Donaire seemingly made himself the front-runner for the 2012 Fighter of the Year honors.” The fight was the last to feature TV analyst Larry Merchant on the panel. After the bout, Donaire intimated that he wanted Mares next.