MANILA, Philippines – Four-division champion Nonito Donaire Jr. was hailed by Boxing Scene as 2012’s Fighter of the Year due to his victories over worthy opponents and his stance on random drug testing.
According to Boxing Scene’s Jake Donovan, Donaire has churned out impressive performance in all of his four fights in 2012 and this enabled him to edge other contenders for the Fighter of the Year plum like Danny Garcia and Juan Manuel Marquez.
“Nonito Donaire proved that he was better than everyone else in the sport over the course of the past 12 months. With that comes the reward of being recognized as 2012’s Fighter of the Year,” said Donovan.
Earlier, Donaire was also chosen as ESPN's Boxer of the Year.
Garcia became a strong candidate for the Boxing Scene award based on his fourth-round stoppage of future hall-of-famer Erik Morales.
Marquez joined the fray by knocking out Manny Pacquiao with a single punch.
But Donovan said Donaire’s sensational victory over Mexican star Jorge Arce spelled the difference.
“The advantage Donaire enjoyed was the fact that he had the last fight scheduled among any viable candidate. Unlike the anti-climactic ending that came of his 2011 campaign, Donaire had one last chance to either reclaim his lead or add to it,” he said.
Donovan was referring to Donaire’s dismal 2011.
The “Filipino Flash” started 2011 with his second-round knockout of Fernando Montiel but slowed down due to contract dispute with Top Rank. He ended that year with an uninspiring win over Omar Narvaez.
Aside from beating Arce, Donaire's 2012 conquests also included Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., Jeffrey Mathebula and Toshiaki Nishioka.
Donovan said another plus for the Filipino-American was his commitment to random drug testing, becoming the first boxer to voluntary subject himself to tests year round.
“Donaire’s stance on the subject was a rare breath of fresh air, in a year where performance enhancing drug (PED) use had run rampant in our sport,” he said.
“[Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency], whose headquarters are in Nevada but with representatives around the world, was about to forever put Donaire under its microscope. He was fine with it.”