MANILA, Philippines – With his third-round knockout of Mexico’s Jorge Arce, Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire is now a top candidate for Fighter of the Year after finishing 2012 with an unblemished 4-0 record.
Apart from Arce, Donaire also defeated Wilfredo Vazquez, Jeffrey Mathebula and Toshiaki Nishioka this year. He decisioned Vazquez and Mathebula then knocked out Nishioka and Arce.
“He is definitely in the running,” boxing analyst Recah Trinidad said. “How many other fighters fought for times this year and won they way he did?”
“At the very least, he is in the top three.”
For many analysts, Donaire’s victory against Arce was a sure thing. The only question was how impressive it would be.
“Not only will Donaire beat Arce, but cannibalize him,” said Ed Tolentino. “May extra motivation si Donaire. Avenger siya.”
“Hindi ordinaryong pagkapanalo ang kailagan. Placed under pressure, nag-deliver ang Filipino Flash, providing instant relief sa pagkatalo ni (Manny) Pacquiao,” he added.
Donaire’s victory came a week after Pacquiao was shockingly knocked out by his own Mexican rival, Juan Manuel Marquez.
The next step in Donaire’s career is now a hot topic for discussion. Critics in the United States say it is time for Donaire to face the elite fighters in his weight class, specifically Mexican fighter Abner Mares.
Donaire himself has expressed his desire to fight Mares, the current World Boxing Council (WBC) super bantamweight champion.
“He should go up to 126-pounds at least to get better money fights, but for now, dapat kalabanin niya si WBC super bantamweight champion Abner Mares,” said Trinidad.
“He should keep on winning. If you want to be the best, don’t take mediocre opponents. Tutok sa boxing, do not fall in the same trap as Pacquiao, naipit sa kumunoy ng tagumpay,” said Tolentino. “Very demanding ang sport na ito.”
While Donaire’s victory certainly lifted the country’s spirits, Trinidad wants to give Filipinos a reality check. He said Pacquiao’s loss can’t easily be forgotten and dismissed, while Donaire’s victory should be taken for what it is.
“Not to take anything away from Donaire, but let’s not exaggerate the win,” Trinidad said. “You have to look at what Manny has done through the years and the way he lost via that knockout.”
“That is not easily vindicated by this win, although it does make the Filipino feel a little better,” he said.
The bout against Arce was the first time Donaire earned a million dollars for a fight, and his winnings are expected to continue growing as long as he keeps fighting and winning against quality opponents.