MANILA, Philippines – Super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire and light-welterweight king Danny Garcia are the leading contenders for the Fighter of the Year award, according to RingTV analyst Doug Fischer.
Both Donaire and Garcia have tallied three victories this year.
Garcia defeated Mexican legend Erik Morales twice, first via unanimous decision last March and then via fourth-round knockout in their rematch last weekend. In between, he also beat former champion Amir Khan via a fourth-round technical knockout.
Meanwhile, Donaire holds decision victories over Wilfredo Vazquez Jr and Jeffrey Mathebula, and last October 13, knocked out top Japanese fighter Toshiaki Nishioka in the ninth round.
“I think Garcia is definitely a Fighter of the Year candidate along with Nonito Donaire,” Fischer said in his blog with RingTV.
“Both Garcia and Donaire separated themselves from the other standouts of 2012 (such as Andre Ward and Floyd Mayweather) by fighting three times, by unifying alphabet titles and by winning The RING championships,” he added.
But Fischer said that despite Garcia’s achievements, he believes it is Donaire who had the better year.
“Donaire... had the more impressive year in my opinion by winning a vacant title against a very solid contender (Vazquez) in his first bout at 122-pounds, unifying belts against a stylistically difficult contender (Mathebula), and then knocking out the No. 1-rated junior featherweight in the world (Nishioka),” Fischer said.
Fischer believes that Garcia’s victory over Khan becomes less impressive when considering that Khan was coming off a loss before fighting him.
“And as much as I love El Terrible (Morales), he had considerably less in his tank than the aged veteran that Nonito took out (Nishioka),” he added.
Donaire can clinch the Fighter of the Year award if he fights and beats Mexican brawler Jorge Arce on December 15, according to Fischer.
“It’s extremely rare for a pound-for-pound rated boxer to fight four times in one year, especially one who is primarily showcased on HBO,” he noted.
Donaire has repeatedly said that there is nothing definite about his next fight, though he has said that he is willing to fight Arce even in the latter’s hometown of Mexico City.