SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco Bay Area boxing superstar Nonito Donaire Jr. is the next king of the ring–take it from Mexican boxing great Julio Cesar Chavez.
“I think Donaire will be the one to reign over the sport,” said Chavez. Donaire, the 2012 “Fighter of the Year,” is now ranked in the Top 5 of most pound-for-pound listing.
The legendary Chavez who is considered the greatest Mexican boxer ever, said he has no reservations choosing the Filipino American Donaire.
“It’s hard to pick one, but I definitely think Nonito Donaire has demonstrated that he is one of the best in the world,” Chavez, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2011, told Spanish sports channel ESPN Deportes.
Chavez, 50, who remains active in the sport as a boxing analyst, thinks the 30-year-old Donaire has the rare combination of power, speed and ring smarts to eventually become the world’s No. 1 when the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fade away from boxing.
A world champion in four different weight classes, Donaire fought four times last year against top opponents, and he seemed to be getting better after each of those big fights.
On Feb. 4, Donaire moved up in weight to win the vacant World Boxing Organization super bantamweight title, knocking down former 122-pound champ Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in Round 9 and dominating the naturally bigger Puerto Rican star.
On July 7, Donaire fought the taller Jeffrey Mathebula, dropping the South African with a counter left hook in Round 4 and dominating him to add the International Boxing Federation super bantamweight belt in a unification bout.
Three months later, he relinquished one of the belts, took on highly respected former World Boxing Council champion Toshiaki Nishioka and stopped the Japanese in Round 9 after scoring knockdowns in the sixth and ninth rounds.
And on Dec. 15, Donaire took on four-division Mexican star Jorge Arce despite a bad left hand. He decked Arce in the second round and again in the third before unleashing a furious flurry before the end of the round to knock out the Mexican.
To this day Chavez holds the longest unbeaten streak of 89 fights before finally losing to American challenger Frankie Randall in on Jan. 29, 1994 by split decision to yield his world light welterweight title.
But Chavez immediately bounced back from that loss and convincingly took his title back, winning by eighth-round technical decision when the fight was stopped due to cuts.
For the record, the longest winning streak in boxing belongs to all-time No. 1 Sugar Ray Robinson, who went undefeated in 91 straight fights in a span of eight years after his first loss to his arch-nemesis Jake “The Raging Bull” LaMotta.
According to the International Boxing Hall of Fame website, Robinson had won 40 straight professional fights before losing to LaMotta, another Hall of Famer whose life story was made into a movie in the 1981 in the Academy Award-winning film “Raging Bull,” with Robert DeNiro in the lead role.