Boxer Nonito Donaire sits ringside and takes photos while Toshiaki...

Boxer Nonito Donaire sits ringside and takes photos while Toshiaki Nishioka and Rafael Marquez exchange blows during their WBC super bantamweight title fight at the Marquee Ballroom in the MGM Grand Conference Center. (Oct. 1, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

Nonito Donaire, the little bantamweight with the big punch, shot up everyone's Top 10 pound-for-pound list with his explosive knockout of Fernando Montiel last February. Suddenly, the Filipino Flash is being asked if he can follow in the giant footsteps of countryman Manny Pacquiao and move up in weight to win a string of titles.

Poised to make his New York debut Saturdaynight at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in the final defense of his WBC and WBO 118-pound titles against Argentina's Omar Narvaez, Donaire knows his 10-year career is about to take off.

"I realize this is where I want to be," Donaire said Thursday at the final news conference in Manhattan. "I'm happy with everything I've done in boxing, but I feel this is just the beginning. There's really no pressure because my main focus is Narvaez in front of me."

It's a sign of the 28-year-old Donaire's maturity that, even as he plays to the cameras, recorders and notepads, he understands that the journey in front of him starts with a single step against Narvaez. And he knows it can end with a single misstep.

So Donaire (26-1, 18 KOs) is not looking past Narvaez (35-0-2, 19 KOs), who is making his debut at 118 but is the current WBO world super-flyweight champion and a former flyweight champ. At 35, Narvaez still is the top-ranked fighter at super-flyweight, and he presents the additional problem of being a southpaw.

Of course, Donaire came to prominence four years ago when he knocked out southpaw flyweight champion Vic Darchinyan with a short left hook. "I've sparred Joel Casamayor, and I've sparred Manny Pacquiao," Donaire said of two other great lefties, "and I did fairly well against them and they taught me a lot."

As Donaire sees it, Narvaez wants to rely on his experience to carry him into the later rounds, but as the younger, naturally stronger man, Donaire wants to impose his will early. "We want to let him know I can make it happen with just one punch," Donaire said. "If he starts jabbing and moving and gets confident, that's one thing you don't want from a veteran fighter."

The one thing Donaire has studied about Narvaez is his stance, and that tells him all he needs to know. "He's very defensive," Donaire said. "We have to break that shell, but I'm very confident he wants to break out of that shell. I can see he's willing to engage. I see it in his stance. It's a stance that gives you everything, but it's also dangerous.

"If he doesn't engage, I can find a way to engage him and take away his shell."

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