Manny Pacquiao’s loss was difficult to bear for a nation that has been so used to the Filipino idol producing a spectacle in the ring.
But it wasn’t all that bad for Filipino prizefighters last year as four other boxers delivered decisive victories to add to the tremendous triumphs of Nonito Donaire.
Brian Viloria continued his resurgence, Donnie Nietes remained one of the world’s best in his division, while Johnriel Casimero and Sonny Boy Jaro finally rose to prominence on a year that will be remembered for Donaire’s exploits.
Their feats will not go unnoticed as they share the professional boxer of the year award during the PSA-Milo Annual Awards Night on March 16 at the Manila Hotel ballroom.
“They all deserve to be feted and share the spotlight when we honor the big achievers of 2012 in two weeks time,” said PSA president Rey Bancod of Tempo after a board meeting.
Donaire will get the reward for his big year by being named as one of the four recipients of Athlete of the Year awards in the rites backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, Globalport 900, Rain or Shine, Philippine Basketball Association, Smart, LBC, Senator Chiz Escudero, and ICTSI at Philippine Golf Tour.
Josie Gabuco, the first Filipina to win a world title in amateur boxing, the multi-titled Ateneo Blue Eagles, and the world champion Manila women’s softball squad, share the award with Donaire.
Also on the honor roll are pro cager Mark Caguioa, jockey Jonathan Hernandez, pro golfer Tony Lascuna, horse Hagdang Bato, amateur cager Bobby Ray Parks, and amateur golfer Dottie Ardina.
Continuing his rise back to the top, the 32-year-old Viloria unified world flyweight titles with a sensational 10th round knockout win over Mexican Hernan “Tyson” Marquez in October in Los Angeles.
Casimero showed plenty of grit in winning a split decision over Pedro Guevarra in Sinaloa, Mexico, in August.
Nietes remained steady with a victory over Felipe Salguero at the Resorts World Hotel in Pasay City in July, while Jaro hammered out a giant upset with a sixth round knockout of legendary Thai fighter Pongsaklek Wonjongkam to bag the WBC flyweight title in Chonburi, Thailand.