The Filipino Flash is ESPN’s 2012 Boxer of the YearPosted on December 28th, 2012 under Sporting Gold
The “Filipino Flash” Nonito Donaire Jr. punctuated his winning year in boxing with “Boxer of the Year” honors from the respected sports website, ESPN,com.
“It might sound strange, but no, Manny Pacquiao was not the best fighter from the Philippines in 2012. That honor goes to “The Filipino Flash,” wrote veteran boxing writer Dan Rafael of ESPN,
Donaire, currently the junior featherweight world champion, was described as having a year for the ages after four decisive wins as he moved up weight at the beginning of the year.
He first vacated his bantamweight titles when he fought for the first time at junior featherweight in February by outpointing and dropping former world champ Wilfredo Vazquez Jr.
In July, Donaire entered the ring against Jeffrey Mathebula and carved out a unanimous decision to unify their belts after breaking the South African’s jaw.
This was followed by a showdown in October with former titleholder and one of the best at super batamweight, Toshiaki Nishioka, whom he stopped in Round 9 to solidify his supremacy at the weight division.
But his biggest win was in front of a crowd of 7,250 at the Toyota Center in Houston earlier this month when he knocked out Mexican former world champion Jorge Arce in three lopsided rounds.
“The result was Donaire’s best showing of 2012… It was the exclamation point on a year in which Donaire seized the mantle from Pacquiao, his idol, as the Philippines’ best boxer and continued to assert himself as one of the best fighters in the world, period,” wrote Rafael.
Donaire now joins an elite list of fighters who had been named ESPN’s Boxer of the year, including Manny Pacquiao in 2006, 008, and 2009; Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2007; Ricky Hatton in 2005; Sergio Martinez in 2010; and Andre Ward in 2011.
Previously holding world titles at flyweight and bantamweight (and an interim belt at junior bantamweight), Donaire’s skill set, speed, and power were carried up to his new weight class.
“Donaire, 30, easily handled the move up in weight, winning all four of his fights in dominant fashion. He dropped each of his foes – scoring seven knockdowns in all – won twice by knockout and collected two world titles,” wrote Rafael.
ESPN also lauded the Filipino Flash’s anti-doping stance, being the only fighter in the world who has only fighter in the world who has signed on with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association for random urine and blood testing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
“This in an era when every great performance unfortunately comes under the suspicion of possible performance-enhancing drug use – except, of course, Donaire’s. His attitude is refreshing,” said Rafael.
In an interview earlier on how he feels about being tested for performance enhancing drugs, Donaire said: “I don’t mind it. I think it’s a good for the sport and I am going to do it, It’s a good idea. I have nothing to hide. I would love for all fighters to follow me, but not everybody is like me.”
(Story courtesy of Nate Barretto of Manila Bulletin)