Ring Magazine and WBO junior featherweight champion Nonito Donaire and nutritionist Victor Conte have unexpectedly parted ways, ending a near three-year relationship between fighter and advisor.
Donaire’s wife Rachel said that Conte, the founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) in Burlingame, informed Team Donaire of his resignation Monday night via text. Donaire, however, did not check his phone for several hours due to his workout in progress.
While out to dinner later that night, Rachel suggested that her husband check his phone. She said that although Donaire was disappointed by the text, to a degree, he accepted Conte’s decision:
“… that kind of news you don’t expect [to hear] that after such a long relationship. But people make their own decisions, and Nonito respects that. He’d want to be respected if he made the same decision.”
She wanted to clarify that she and her husband did not fire Conte, and that they were pleased with Conte’s work. She also pointed out that money did not play a factor in the split.
Conte advised Donaire (31-1, 20 KO) on supplements, hydration and frequency of workouts dating back to his eighth-round destruction of Hernan Marquez in July 2010.
In 2005, Conte spent four months in prison after a guilty plea to steroids-related charges. He had previously publicly implicated a raft of athletes he had worked with, including shamed Olympian Marion Jones and NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski.
Known as a prolific Tweeter, Conte has remained quite on the social media site. He did, however, retweet a story written by MaxBoxing’s Gabriel Montoya, stating it was entirely his decision to quit.
When asked about the situation, Conte replied:
— Victor Conte (@VictorConte) March 20, 2013
The split comes just three weeks before Donaire — the only fighter who submits to Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency Association (VADA) testing on a year-round basis — is scheduled to defend his titles against fellow WBA 122 lb. titleholder Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba at Radio City Music Hall in New York on April 13.
Rachel Donaire told the Sweet Science she does not believe the split will throw Nonito off during training camp since Conte did not show up at Donaire’s gym daily:
“Nonito called him if something feels off, or Victor would call him. Victor is a brilliant man. Sometimes personalities don’t get along. This doesn’t detract from how much he knows.”
Donaire did not elaborate on the full extent of the split, but sent a text to MaxBoxing, stating:
“I will still be actively enrolling myself in VADA and subjecting myself to 24/7/365 drug testing.”
Donaire earned fighter of the year honors for his impressive 2012 campaign, unifying the WBO and IBF 122 lb. titles by defeating four of the division’s elite names.
In his last outing this past December, Donaire sent Mexican veteran Jorge Arce into retirement via third-round knockout. Donaire knocked Arce down twice before putting Arce on his back with a crushing left hook to seal the deal with only a second remaining in the round.