LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Last year was an impeccable one for Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire Jr.
Donaire bagged the 2012 Fighter of the Year award from various agencies and media sports outlets in the Philippines and abroad.
"[Thank you] sa lahat ng blessings na ibinigay sa akin ni Lord… grabe talaga. Kailangan talagang mag-ensayo ng husto and discipline. Pero, most of all, nandun ‘yung support ng mga tao at saka nung mga friends, family, especially the fans and, of course, buntis 'yung asawa. Talagang masayang masaya ko," Donaire said.
Top Rank boss Bob Arum lauded Donaire's achievement as he assured Donaire of bigger fight purses this year. "The operative word about Nonito is he earned it. Whatever we pay him he earned. He is going to make bigger purses this year," Arum.
Donaire is eager to get back into the ring and he is especially inspired about his first fight for 2012 against 32-year-old Guillermo "El Chacal" Rigondeux of Cuba, which will take place at the Radio City Music Hall in New York on April 13.
Two days before the fight, Donaire is scheduled to receive the Boxing Writers Association of America’s Fighter of the Year award on April 11.
"Kung makaya ko ‘yung three fights, gagawin ko ‘yung three fights. Kung makakaya ko ang four fights, gagawin ko din 'yung four fights. Tingnan ko lang kung ano 'yung ibibigay sa akin for this year, but one thing is for sure sa April 13 reading-ready na ako," he said.
Rigondeaux is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and has a record of 11 wins and eight knockouts.
"For me, nasa list ko 'yung gusto kong kunin 'yung belt niya. Kung magawa nila 'yung laban ni [Abner] Mares then, that's for another belt as well. So kung makuha ko yung dalawa for this year masaya ko. But for now it's start with Rigondeaux," Donaire said.
Donaire promised that his upcoming fight with the Cuban will be an electrifying showdown.
"He is a thinking fighter. But makikita mo lahat ng ginagawa niya so kung sino man ‘yung mas mautak at who can see o makikita lahat ng movements. It's gonna be a chess match but I'm gonna make it into a faster pace," he said.
Meanwhile, Donaire and his wife are scheduled to watch the Faith Hill and Tim McGraw concert for Valentine’s Day.