BEDOK, Singapore – 2012 was certainly a memorable year for Pinoy fight fans to say the least. For the most part, we saw one star rise into superstardom and one star fall into a deep, dark abyss.
Nonito Donaire completed his unprecedented tour of duty by viciously stopping Mexican legend Jorge Arce within the distance, sending him into retirement in the epic finale of a 4-fight series which saw Donaire dominate the best of the best in the lower weight classes.
Donaire was recognized almost universally as the "Fighter of the Year" by all major sporting organizations due to his accomplishments.
As good as he is, Donaire can do much better in 2013 and is still constantly learning his craft, which is a scary thought given his immense talent.
And as good as last year was for Donaire, it was the complete opposite for Manny Pacquiao, who himself was on the wrong end of a brutal knockout delivered by arch nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez.
Prior to that, Pacquiao dropped a split decision verdict to Timothy Bradley in what many claim to be one of the biggest robberies in the history of the sport. Pacquiao went 0-2 for the year and fans are now calling for his retirement due to the way his last fight ended.
Regardless of Pacquiao’s demise, the year was spectacular as much as it was historic and if 2012 was any indication, then 2013 looks to be an amazing year.
Let’s take a look at a few fights that should get everyone excited.
Brian Viloria vs Roman Gonzalez
Viloria was one Pinoy who had a great year. He bested long time rival, Omar Nino Romero and stopped highly-touted Hernan Marquez to unify the flyweight titles for the first time since 1965, making history.
One fight that’s on the Filipino-American’s radar is against undefeated light flyweight champion Roman “El Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicaragua. The hard punching latino fighter boasts a 34-win record including 28 knockouts and no defeats.
Viloria’s step up in competition together with his coming of age as a fighter means blockbuster fights from here on out and this one against Gonzalez is definitely of that level.
"El Chocolatito" is recognized as the best in and around his division. If Viloria can beat Gonzalez, it would definitely launch the proud Hawaiian native into the Pound-for-Pound discussions.
A Viloria-Gonzalez fight promises an all-out war from start to finish as both fighters are well-known for their punching power and blistering offense.
Nonito Donaire vs Abner Mares and Guillermo Rigondeaux
Donaire has two fights he needs to make to clear out the division before commencing his eventual move to featherweight, and it’s against two fighters considered by many to be the only true test for the gifted "Filipino Flash."
Both Abner Mares and Guillermo Rigondeaux have called out Donaire in hopes of making a fight but continue to entertain lesser opponents, instead of actually signing on to fight the Filipino.
But Donaire has called upon his promoter Bob Arum to put the fights together, and if fans are lucky, we might actually get a chance to see them.
Donaire-Mares is the true super fight in the 122 lb. weight division, pitting arguably the two best against each other in a potential barn-burner.
Mares is an overwhelming pressure fighter in the vein of a young Erik Morales. The contrast of styles he produces when matched with Donaire’s tactical approach provides an interesting backdrop to what would most certainly be a night of great action.
Though largely untested, Guillermo Rigondeaux, the decorated Cuban amateur champion still poses a huge threat to Donaire by just his skills alone. True, his body of work doesn’t necessarily earn him the right to face Donaire anytime soon but Rigondeaux surely has tremendous upside – enough to make a Donaire clash interesting.
Rigondeaux is fast and powerful and perhaps just as technical as Donaire.
Bouts with Mares and Rigo are two extremely tough fights for Nonito Donaire but both which are definitely winnable.
Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez and Brandon Rios
Pacquiao-Marquez 4 was by far the best in the series and though it didn’t quite end the way Pinoy fight fans hoped it would, it was still a great fight and I don’t think anyone would mind seeing the two go at it once again.
The imagery is still fresh in the minds of the public. There lay a motionless Pacquiao, unconscious and broken on the ring floor, felled by a ‘perfect’ Marquez counter right hand.
Needless to say, Pacquiao is itching at the chance of revenge and Pacquiao-Marquez 5 is now the fight everyone wants to see in 2013.
Every time you put Pacquiao and Marquez together in the ring, good things happen. A fifth go around promises the same type of action the series is known for, even considering both fighters’ advanced ages.
On the other hand, Pacquiao could very well end up fighting rising star Brandon Rios in a grand display of pure firepower. Both Pacquiao and Rios are extremely strong individuals. It will be a truly violent and gut-wrenching sight should the two ever meet in the ring.
Fan-friendly and high-octane, the matchup would pit Pacquiao’s speed and furious combinations against Rios’ indomitable will and granite chin. Had Pacquiao not lost to Marquez, Rios was being lined up by Arum for a date with the Pambansang Kamao (National Fist).
Needless to say, 2013 looks to be an awesome year for Filipino fight fans. We have very much to look forward to.
What other fights do you want to see this year? Leave your comments below. - Rappler.com