Donaire and his limitless future

Carlos Cinco

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Donaire is in the perfect position to take Pacquiao's place as the nation’s boxing icon.

NEW PACQUIAO? Nonito Donaire of the Philippines poised to take place of boxing icon Manny Pacquiao? Photo from AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Nonito Donaire in recent years has emerged as one of the brightest stars of the sport of boxing, gaining not only recognition in the Philippines but also in the entire world.

Donaire stood out amidst a pool of talent with scintillating victories recorded over the biggest names in boxing.

He holds a win streak which has now risen to 27 in a row including a resounding 5th round knockout over Vic “The Raging Bull” Darchinyan in 2007, and a sizzling 2nd round destruction of Fernando “KO Chulito” Montiel early last year.

Both Darchinyan and Montiel were world champions generally considered to be among the elite at the time Donaire fought them.

The victories over Darchinyan and Montiel both won “Knockout of the Year” awards from Ring Magazine, widely known as the ‘Bible of Boxing’, due to the nature in which Donaire won the bouts.

Signature punch

In the Darchinyan fight, Donaire decked the Armenian with a perfectly timed counter.

Just as Darchinyan was loading up for a power shot, Donaire unleashed a textbook left hook to the jaw that sent his foe to the floor.

Darchinyan, on shaky legs, struggled to rise to his feet and could not beat the ten count.

A similar fate met Fernando Montiel in 2011.

Donaire landed a counter left hook to the temple in what he described as ‘the hardest punch he ever threw’.

The trajectory of his fist which he twisted into the punch providing maximum impact and torque, landed with unbelievable force. Donaire actually broke his hand with that amazing shot and in a brief moment of worry, Montiel was left writhing on the canvas, his body twitching while trying to regain his senses.

The left hook has become Donaire’s signature punch, his main offensive weapon, but it is not his most valuable asset.

A student of the sweet science

Nonito Donaire regards himself as a student of the sweet science.

Perhaps more impressive than his chilling knockout power or his blazing fast quickness is his ability to understand the science and intricacies of pugilism. His ability to ‘read’ an opponent’s offense and time them perfectly with counters — coupled with his ability to decipher a tight defense to create openings — is what sets Donaire up for exciting finishes.

Apart from his god-given athleticism, his most valuable asset is mastery of the sport’s scientific aspect.

This combination of precise technique and one-punch knockout power leaves boxing experts and fans alike, mesmerized at the fighter’s limitless potential. In fact, most have him in the top five overall best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

‘The Filipino Flash’ has been carving a path of destruction without a loss since 2001 – and there seems to be no one in the lower weight divisions to present a stiff challenge, hence the need to explore the heavier classes.

Endless possibilities

A few months ago, Donaire tore apart a game Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in his 122 lb. debut.

He popped a vein in his left hand as he was trying to land his money shot, leaving his gloves and wraps in a bloody mess.

Vazquez, generally considered to be one of the top Super Bantamweights in the world, was expected to be a tough test for Donaire yet was completely outclassed by the crafty Filipino.

Vazquez was certainly no pushover but Donaire picked him apart with relative ease, visibly rocking the Puerto Rican on numerous occasions and also knocking him down in the 9th round for the first time in his career via a beautiful left-uppercut left-hook combination – another display of Donaire’s superior skillset.

Donaire is rumored to face toughman Jorge “Travieso” Arce of Mexico later this fall, a bout which Bob Arum is lobbying to take place in the newly built Mall of Asia Coliseum.

Arce is known as an all-action brawler who’s never in a boring fight. A Donaire-Arce fight in the Philippines would be a huge attraction.

At the moment however, Donaire is scheduled to make his ring return on June 16th against former Super Flyweight Champion Christian Mijares. Mijares was once one of the sport’s rising young stars until he got wrecked by Vic Darchinyan.

Critics early on predict that Mijares would be no match for the more well-rounded Donaire, but Mijares has solid boxing skills and loads of experience. He does bring speed and technique to the table.

The matchup will put two ‘thinking fighters’ in the ring together; not exactly brawlers, so fans can expect a tactical matchup. Donaire has the edge early on but Mijares will be a good test for the Filipino champ.

Donaire has also recently been called out by Featherweight Champion Orland Salido and Super Bantamweight Champion Toshiaki Nishioka.

Both have expressed their intent to face Donaire.

Now that Manny Pacquiao is contemplating retirement, Donaire is in the perfect position to take his place as the nation’s boxing icon.

Indeed, the future holds endless possibilities for the ‘Filipino Flash’. –

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