MANILA, Philippines – After seeing Nonito Donaire's clinical dismantling of Mexico's Jorge Arce last Saturday in Houston, at least one boxing analyst believes "The Filipino Flash" may be ready to claim the title of the best fighter in the world.
In his "Weekend Review" column on RingTV, Michael Rosenthal sang praises for Donaire, who stopped Arce in the third round of their super bantamweight clash after dropping the Mexican warrior three times in all.
"No one is shocked that Donaire stopped Jorge Arce with a crushing left hook in the third round... The Filipino-American was too good and too big even for an experienced warrior like Arce, who announced his retirement after the fight," Rosenthal wrote.
"And no one is surprised that Donaire went 4-0 in 2012, with convincing victories over world-class opponents Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., Jeffrey Mathebula, Toshiaki Nishioka, and Arce," he added.
Rosenthal said fight fans have "come to expect greatness from Donaire, who has been as dominating as any fighter the past several years."
Donaire is currently rated No. 6 in The RING's pound-for-pound ranking, but Rosenthal believes "The Filipino Flash" can challenge pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. for the top spot.
"I have to respect the ability and accomplishments of (Mayweather), but in light of what I saw when Mayweather fought Miguel Cotto, I have to wonder whether Donaire is the best fighter alive," Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal pointed out that Donaire may not have any weakness in his game.
"He was born with great speed, reflexes and athleticism; he has excellent boxing skills; and he has one-punch knockout power," he said. "Those are characteristics that can lead a fighter directly to the International Boxing Hall of Fame."
ESPN's Brian Campbell was not ready to crown Donaire as the best fighter in the world, but wrote that he was "up there" with other elite fighters.
"Donaire isn't only the favorite for Fighter of the Year and the proven pound-for-pound king of the smaller weight classes; he's also a trail blazer as a volunteer for 24/7, year-round drug testing," Campbell wrote.
"Yet, there's a feeling that Donaire will never truly get the mainstream credit to match the critical praise often heaped upon him until he challenges and defeats a crossover name with true mass appeal – something not often found in his division," he added.
Another ESPN writer, Dan Rafael, commended Donaire for his "great year" and noted that no one can doubt Donaire's victories because of the drug testing program he has volunteered for.
"Not only has Donaire dominated four quality opponents in four world title bouts, but he did it by removing any notion of doping, which... has become a major problem in boxing," Rafael wrote.
"Donaire is the only fighter int he world who has agreed to be randomly drug tested 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year whether he is training for a fight or not," he added.
"It's an admirable position that other fighters would do well to emulate. So when Donaire thrashes good opponents, nobody has to suspect something is amiss."