Underdog Boxing: Nonito Donaire should be named the Fighter of the Year
Professional boxers who are ranked in the Top 10 of Ring Magazine’s Pound-for-Pound list are not supposed to fight four times a year. These cream of the crop prizefighters usually wait for the best possible scenario and fight around twice a year.
Among the names in the Top 10, Floyd Mayweather, Andre Ward, and Timothy Bradley only fought once in 2012. Juan Manuel Marquez, Sergio Martinez, Manny Pacquiao, and Robert Guerrero all fought twice, while heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and pound-for-pound list newbie Adrien Broner were two of the most active with three fights.
With his third round knockout victory over Jorge Arce last week, Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire, trumped everyone by figuring in four fights, all victories, in 2012.
Donaire started 2012 with a decision victory over Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. to earn the WBO super bantamweight title back in February. He then unified his WBO title with the IBF belt by defeating Jeffrey Mathebula in July. Donaire was back in action two months later against Toshiaki Nishioka. He defeated the Japanese fighter to earn the Ring Magazine and WBC Diamond super bantamweight title (Donaire relinquished the IBF title before the fight).
Against Nishioka, Donaire reinjured his left hand and it looked like that’s was the end of his 2012 campaign. Right after the fight, Donaire said that he was done for the year and at that point, a Fighter of the Year award for Donaire could have been possible.
However, a few weeks after, Top Rank arranged a fight between Donaire and Arce. Although Arce is past his prime, he was still a dangerous fighter who has power and tremendous fighting spirit. Donaire also had to take extra care of his left hand by going easy on the mitts and sparring in preparation for his fight.
Having the most fights among all the fighters in Ring Magazine’s Top 10 list should not automatically make any boxer the Fighter of the Year. However, with the year Donaire has been having and with the quality of the opposition that he went through, the fact that he has the most fights should cement his claim to the prestigious award.
The last time a Filipino fighter held the Fighter of the Year honors was back in 2009 when Pacquiao won it for the third time after scoring tremendous victories over Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto. This year, the award should again be held by a Filipino fighter, by the heir-apparent to Pacquiao’s throne. - RAF, GMA News