Today in Belfast: Remember the Filipino Flash?
They’re already talking about Manny Pacquiao’s choice for a next would-be opponent, but nobody seems to care about Nonito Donaire Jr. That’s the prevailing scene and sentiment out in the busy Filipino boxing marketplace.
Pacquiao fights Lucas Matthysse on July 15 in Kuala Lumpur for the WBA world welterweight championship.
Today, yes today, Donaire fights Carl Frampton in Belfast for the interim WBO featherweight title.
Not Pacquiao’s fault, but there’s not a line about the Donaire fight in major metro dailies around here.
Remember the Filipino Flash?
There was a time not too long ago when Donaire’s name was being mentioned in the same breath as Pacquiao’s.
They had also started calling him the Filipino Flash in honor of the immortal Gabriel “Flash” Elorde.
Donaire’s star was at its brightest in 2012, when he swept through a line of world ring sensations.
Noted Philboxing.com founder and chief editor Dong Secuya: “Fighters he beat in 2012 were Wilfredo Vasquez of Puerto Rico, Jeffrey Methebula of South Africa, Toshiaki Nishioka of Japan and Jorge Arce of Mexico.”
Donaire’s soar was signaled by a resounding knockout of Vic Darchinyan, in an episode that was tagged knockout of the year. He also owns a sensational stoppage of the celebrated Fernando Montiel.
Misadventures, topped by the dismal fall against Nicolas Walters of Jamaica, and a shameful defeat in the hands of Guillermo Rigondeaux, inevitably pushed Donaire away from the limelight.
There were a few comeback attempts, but as these were mostly against certified patsies, they hardly helped Donaire in his bid to shine again.
Frampton, a celebrated former world champion, will be in the same spot in Belfast today.
He will be bidding to regain the love and respect of his countrymen.
He is the overwhelming hometown favorite, but Donaire has all the experience, craft and power to prevail and be a star again.