Donaire heads Fighter of the Year favorites


HOUSTON, Texas—If blasting Jorge Arce into oblivion is Nonito Donaire Jr.’s way of getting attention, then he has succeeded.

Donaire, dubbed “The Filipino Flash,” made a strong case for 2012 Fighter of the Year honors of the Boxing Writers Association of America with a third-round knockout of four-division champion Arce Saturday night at Toyota Center here.

While fighting twice or thrice a year has become the norm for elite fighters, the 30-year-old Donaire fought four quality opponents this year, hurdling each one with aplomb.

On Feb. 4, Donaire bested former world champion Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. to clinch the WBO 122-pound title. On July 7, he dominated then IBF champion Jeffrey Mathebula, to unify the titles. Next to fall was WBC super bantam king Toshiaki Nishioka, who hang up his gloves after a ninth-round stoppage on Oct. 16.

Arce announced his retirement right after the beating he absorbed from Donaire, who is riding an 11-year, 30-bout win streak en route to a 31-1 record with 20 knockouts.

Informed that he is again a leading contender for Fighter of the Year, Donaire, who made the final five nominees in last year’s race won by Andre Ward, said Saturday he is leaving the choice up to the US sportswriters.

Donaire said it would be a welcome Christmas gift for him if he takes this year’s plum.

He has actually dominated the best in the 122-pound division and wants to clean up the remaining elite fighters like Abner Mares and Guillermo Rigondeaux.

Donaire is the first boxer to submit to year-round random drug testing administered by the Voluntarily Anti-Doping Association.

If he gets selected as Fighter of the Year, Donaire will join compatriot Manny Pacquiao in the elite roster. Pacquiao won the award in 2006, 2008 and 2009 and was chosen as BWAA’s Fighter of the Decade.

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