Donaire and Pacquiao solidify the Philippines as boxing’s best country
There’s been a seedy side to boxing ever since the sport shifted from dark back alleys and factory parking lots into clubs and arenas decades ago.
But even after it made the transition from the underground to the mainstream there’s still been enough thugs and questionable characters and decisions involved over the years to drag down its already tarnished image.
There have been some genuinely nice guys in the sport over the years, such as Alexis Arguello, Ray Mancini, Ray Leonard, Wilfredo Benitez, Lennox Lewis, Tommy Hearns, and of course Muhammad Ali. But on the other side of the coin we’ve had to endure the asinine antics both in and out of the ring of guys like Sonny Liston, Mike Tyson, Edwin Valero, Tony Ayala Jr., and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
However, there’s been a breath of fresh air lately with well-mannered and respectful boxers who’ve begun to dig the sport out of the mud, and it looks like the Philippines is leading the way at the moment with quality boxers and people like WBO welterweight Champion Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38KOs) and WBC and WBO Bantamweight king Nonito Donaire (26-1, 18KOs).
The 28-year-old Donaire and 32-year-old Pacquiao both hail from General Santos City, and even though Donaire found his way to California as a youngster and most of his fights have been in America, he’s still the pride of the Philippines, and rightly so.
Donaire’s first big splash on the boxing scene came back in July of 2007 when he demolished the previously unbeaten Vic Darchinyan in Connecticut for the IBF and IBO Flyweight titles. The fact the bout was shown across America on TV helped Donaire make a name for himself as did his boxing skills and power.
He’s never looked back since, reeling off eight straight wins with the biggest of them coming on Feb. 19th in Vegas when he destroyed Mexico’s Fernando Montiel (44-3-2, 34KOs,), becoming the first man to stop him. Donaire floored Montiel in the second round with one of the scariest left hooks you’ll ever see. Montiel hit the deck and his body seemed to go into convulsions before he miraculously got to his feet. Donaire then picked up where he left off with a couple of more shots forcing referee Russell Mora to call of the fight at the 2:25 mark.
The brutal left hand was reminiscent of the one Pacquiao landed on Ricky Hatton in 2009 and Sergio Martinez’s masterful shot against Paul Williams last November. It looks like there’s a lot more to come from Donaire too and if he keeps this pace up he’ll soon join Pacquiao at the top of boxing’s pound-for-pound list of best fighters.
The comparisons between the two Filipinos are just natural. They’re both about the same height and Donaire’s slowly working himself up through the weight classes after debuting in 2001. His only loss came in his second pro fight when he dropped a five-round unanimous decision to Rosendo Sanchez in California.
But it’s perhaps outside of the ring where Donaire and Pacquiao share the most in common. They’re both excellent role models for young boxers and the human race in general. They carry themselves with class in and out of the ring and that’s what boxing needs to bring the average sports fan back into its corner. If Donaire can follow in Pacquiao’s footsteps as a person, not just as a boxer, then the Philippines should be proud, even if he never wins another fight in his life.