MANILA, Philippines – World super bantamweight champion Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire lifted the spirits of his countrymen with a dominant victory over Mexican Jorge Arce, just a week after the nation was stunned by the loss of icon Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao.
Pacquiao was knocked out in the sixth round by his great rival, Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico, but Donaire gained a measure of revenge when he dropped Arce three times en route to a third-round technical knockout victory.
Filipino sports fans were thrilled with Donaire’s victory, especially after watching the Philippine Azkals lose in the AFF Suzuki Cup finals just days after Pacquiao’s defeat.
Donaire's sensational demolition of Arce may signal a symbolic passing of the torch in Filipino boxing.
"Is this the dawn of a new (era), of a new boxer that will be idolized in the same manner as Manny? The Pacquiao era is still there, still present, but the Donaire era has begun," said "Hardball" host Boyet Sison in an interview with ANC.
Sison stressed that it was difficult to compare Donaire and Pacquiao, noting that "they're different fighters."
"Their styles are different, their rise to the top has been different, and the way they conduct themselves on and off the ring is different as well," he added.
Sison said that while Donaire is "a great fighter as it is already," the bigger challenge for him will be how he can "focus on the task at hand, how he will carve out the bigger legacy in store for him."
Donaire's victory over Arce solidified his position as the front-runner for Fighter of the Year honors. "The Filipino Flash" was extraordinarily active in 2012, fighting four times against top contenders.
He outpointed Puerto Rico's Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in February and South Africa's Jeffrey Mathebula in July, and then knocked out Japan's Toshiaki Nishioka in October.