The question “Who will be the next Manny Pacquiao?” gets thrown around a lot in Philippine boxing circles.
In all honesty, however, there is only one answer: There will never be another Manny Pacquiao.
The sooner we all accept this fact, the better it will be for Philippine boxing.
Then, we can all stop labeling fighters as “not good enough” just because they aren't like the Pacman.
There are a lot of up-and-coming Filipino fighters but one has proven himself to be head and shoulders above the rest.
Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire (25-1-0, 17 KOs) has stepped up and can now be considered as Manny Pacquiao’s heir apparent in the kingdom that is Philippine boxing.
Donaire is currently enjoying the fruits of his labor but the road to his lofty perch was long and arduous.
An Early Speed Bump
Donaire had an auspicious start in his career, knocking out Jose Lazaro in the very first round. However, he lost his second fight via unanimous decision against Rosendo Sanchez. Donaire took the loss horribly and even thought of quitting the sport altogether; but with the support of his father/trainer Nonito Sr. and his brother Glenn, Donaire chose to fight on.
First Big Break
After winning his next 16 fights, most of which by knockout, Donaire got the biggest news of his life when he found out that he was chosen to fight Vic “The Raging Bull” Darchinyan who had a tremendous record of 28 wins without a defeat at that point.
The cocky Darchinyan dismissed Donaire as an unworthy challenger and, on his website, Darchinyan posted that he will, and we quote, “proove that he (Donaire) is a ballet dancer just like his brother not a boxer.” Yes, spelling is not one of Darchinyan’s strong points but we digress.
Donaire didn’t let Darchinyan’s trash-talking get to him. He did his best impression of a skilled matador, toying with Raging Bull and making him miss most of the punches he threw. Darchinyan tried to launch one of his strong (albeit slow) punches but Donaire pulled the trigger on a picture-perfect left hook then bam! Lights out. Darchinyan slammed his own face on the canvass, breaking his nose and failing to gather his wits before the referee reached a ten count.
The knockout earned Donaire the IBF and IBO flyweight titles and the Knockout and Upset of the Year honors from the Ring Magazine.
Everyone thought that Donaire’s career would skyrocket after this big win but things didn’t exactly pan out as Donaire would have wanted them to.
The Calm before the Storm
After winning against Darchinyan, Donaire fought good but largely unknown opponents. He was frustrated that his promoter, Gary Shaw, could not get the big fights that he wanted so he jumped ship to Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions.
He defeated a couple of good fighters in Raul Marquez and Moruthi Mthlane but the other guys were just ordinary; definitely not the fighters who would enable Donaire to get to the next level. Meanwhile, his nemesis Darchinyan racked up big win after big win, appending the WBC, WBA, and IBF super flyweight titles in the process.
The Storm Surge
After years of waiting for a big fight, Donaire finally got what he longed for. He was going to fight Fernando Montiel (43-2-2, 33 KOs) of Mexico, the best bantamweight in the world. However, Donaire had to beat Volodymyr Sydorenko to get his second big break.
He knew that he cannot take Sydorenko lightly. He was a former world champion who only lost his title via close decision against Anselmo Moreno. The Ukrainian had a tremendous record of 22 wins, 2 losses, and 2 draws before facing Donaire. This was considered as “trap” fight as Donaire may lose his focus on Sydorenko because he was looking forward to the big match against Montiel.
Many predicted that it would be a pretty tough fight for the Filipino Flash as his opponent was no push-over but Donaire made it look easy. The lanky Filipino landed a big right that floored his opponent and went on to drop Sydorenko two more times en route to a bloody fourth round knockout. Sydorenko’s face was a bloody mess after the fight and, for the second time in his career, Donaire was the talk of boxing world. He made a former world champion look like an amateur as he picked him apart from the opening bell until the bout was halted in the fourth round.
NEXT: Nonito knows no boundaries
WORDS BY: CARLO PAMINTUAN OF UNDERDOGBOXING.WORDPRESS.COM