Where doesrank among the great filipino boxers of all-time? Behind Flash Elorde, Pancho Villa and perhaps. But love or hate the filipino flash, his dominance that has spanned more than 11 unbeaten years and 4 weight classes is one that awes us. It is a marvel and an achievement worhty of being noticed.
Nonito came to the Philippine boxing scene as the brother of Glen Donaire, the filipino american boxer who was beaten by then untouchable and feared boxer Vic Darchinyan. Nonito's script was to avenge his brother's loss, and hand Darchinyan his first professional loss. It didn't seem to be feasible in 2007, when the Raging Bull was bulldozing his way past one challenger after another....including Glen Donaire. But in a stroke of fate, on the lucky date 07-07-07, Nonito Donaire-a 1-7 underdog, shocked the world by destroying the indestructible Vic Darchinyan via a 5th round knockout in their IBF Flyweight title match.. It was so devastating that it was awarded "Knockout of the year" and "Upset of the Year" by the bible of boxing- Ring Magazine.
It was luck, Darchinyan said he was hit with a good punch. But hey, after reviewing the bout countless times, Nonito was dictating the pace of the bout for 4 rounds although Darchinyan occassionally landed his unorthodox power punches. It was the first time Darchinyan looked lost and puzzled. Nonito was too crafty, too smart ,too talented and packed more power than Darchinyan thought or ever had. He did not know what Nonito was and what Nonito had. Donaire was a puzzle he could not solve-that is until Nonito timed him with that perfect counter that virtually ended Darchinyan's regin and career.
Four years later, Donaire figured in another explosive bout. He knocked out the legendaryin the 2nd round of their WBC and WBO Bantamewight title bout. That win earned him another "Knockout of the Year award"- this time not only from Ring Magazine but also from ESPN and Sports Illustrated.
Last weekend, Donaire again rose to the occassion a carved out an impressive 9th round TKO of the great Toshiaki Nishioka of Japan. Though Nishioka was 36 and hadn't fought in a year, he was the alpha dog in the super bantaweight division. He was ranked 1st by The Ring, and Donaire was just third. WIth the win, Nonito not only defended his WBO title, but annexed the Ring title as well.
Currently, Donaire is #5 on the Pound for Pound ranking behind Floyd Mayweather,Manny Pacquiao, Andre Ward and Sergio Martinez. If we put age in the equation, that would leave Ward and Donaire as the torch bearers of the sport in the years to come.
Locally, Donaire has made a statement and bolstered his stake on being the top filipino boxer out there today. Sure, Pacfans will disagree and have a very valid argument . Manny Pacquiao's an 8 division world champion, the only one to achive such feat. Manny Pacquiao is a legend killer- slaying the likes of Barrera, Morales, De La Hoya, Mosley, Cotto and Margarito. Manny was in a world all by himself, that is until politics and religion tore his mind apart, even if he denies it.
A string of unimpressive performances vs Clottey, Mosley, Marquez 3 led to the upset loss against Tim Bradley. Though it is universally regarded that Pacquiao beat Bradley, it wasn't definitive though- in Manny Pacquiao standards that is. So came the judges and handed Bradley his biggest win ever.
Being the politician, Manny was never fuming mad over the Bradley loss, he accepted it-as part of "God's plan" and part of fate. Millions of filipinos however, could not accept the fact that they lost hard earned money in bets, PPV buys or Sunday hours spent watching the bout. If Manny Pacquiao bolted out,protestedand cried like a wounded tiger, that would have been the reaction we all wanted. It was truly a robbery afterall. But Pacman, mellowed by his politician alter ego and religious alter ego, accepted defeat like a true gentleman and sportsman. For some reasons, it backfired on him.
And then the Marquez 4 announcement came. Now what would this bout prove really? Marquez is a year older than his already old self and they have fought 36 rounds that have made us wonder if JMM is Manny's kryptonite. I think so, and come Fight#4, Manny will still struggle and may put his superstar status in peril.
After the Donaire win, Pacman needs to win just as soundly to retain his Pamnansang Kamao claim. Or else, we'll jsut refer to him as the Fighting Congressman from Saranggani Province.
Manny is too busy with showbiz. He is also building a political dynasty in his province. He is busy with his religious activities. He is surrounded by people who are more like vultures than angels. And he is also busy training for his bout with JMM.
Nonito Donaire? He wants to take the rest of the year off to heal that broken hand. But there are talks of a possible December bout, and maybe Arum is just bluffing. But in the Nishioka post fight interview, Bob said he wants to keep this guy busy, by fighting as many times a year as he can. The guy loves to fight, loves to destroy his opponents.
But before Arum give him the moon, he has yet to land Donaire a PPV bout. Donaire, was paid a paltry $800,000.00 for the Nishioka bout. That is unbelievable, because Manny Pacquiao makes $20M a bout. His opponents make more than Donaire. Why? Pay Per View.
Boxing is a business, and Manny Pacquiao one of it's best salesman. He's sold his rags to riches story and climbed his way to 8 titles in 8 weight classes. He has the charisma of a politician and a fairy tale life story. And yes, he has one of the most powerful punching hands in boxing history. But without Top Rank and Arum carefully handpicking his opposition, he would've been over the hill by now. And yes, thanks to the catch weights too.
I cannot judge Flash Elorde and Pancho Villa because they were already legends long before I was born. I'll take what I read. But as to the comparison between Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire? Many would say it is a no-contest.
I would disagree. Manny Pacquiao is the better salesman. He has the charisma of Fernando Poe Jr. Nonito Donaire speaks a few words, and talks in english most of the time. Manny Pacquiao has won 8 divisions, Nonito just 4. But Pacman beat De La Hoya, Cotto, Margarito and a few more because of the catchweight. Nonito fought his opponents at full strength. Nonito Donaire owns 2 knockout of the year awards and is unbeaten in more than 11 years. Manny Pacquiao lost to Erik Morales in their first bout, I do not count the Bradley bout as a loss. It was a sham. Nonito Donaire is the more skilled, technical and thinking fighter- in fact, he better change his monicker to the surgeon. Manny is the Pacman, eating dots all over and being one of the most feared punchers ever. He is Mr. excitement, explosive and destructive. Donaire, for the ordinary fan, is boring. He stalks, moves, feints, boxes and uses the whole ring to get to his prey. But that is sweet science. He thinks, waits and executes like a surgeon.
Arguments can go on and on and on. But who is better? Donaire previously admitted that it was Pacquiao who paved the way for him and the other pinoy champions today. They idolized Manny Pacquiao. Manny has all the respect for Nonito Donaire too, because of Donaire's accomplishments.
But after last weekend's win, I believe Nonito Donaire is the better boxer out there today. Manny Pacquiao is busy juggling his chores and duties, and needs a knockout to remain as our top boxer. Another lousy performance will definitely erase the Mayweather bout, move him down the PPV ladder and perhaps put him behind Nonito Donaire in the hearts of the filipinos.
But I believe in Manny Pacquao, the boxer. He is perhaps the best ever. His accomplishments speak for themselves. We were all witnesses to his ascendance. But Politics and Religion have taken him away from us-whether we like it or not. Juggling three masters have hurt his performance-whether he admits it or not. I don't think it's the age. Mayweather, Martinez and Marques are all older. It's the focus and the desire. If pacman puts it all together, then we are in for a truly Merry Christmas. Four years ago, he retired De La Hoya on December 06,2008. This year, on December 08,2012, he has a chance to do the same to JMM.
I believe Pacman still has 2 good fights left in him. Let's hope it's the next fight, and that he'll fight Mayweather next. Otherwise, let's just pray that Nonito Donaire's hand heals fast, so we can see him again earlier next year- hopefully on Pay Per View, at last.