GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/05 February) — Nonito Donaire Jr scored the only knockdown in his fight against Puerto Rican Wilfredo Vasquez to win for himself a fourth boxing crown in as many weight categories.
He is now halfway through where countryman and fellow General Santos City-raised Manny Pacquiao, who owns the world record eight world boxing titles in as many weight classes, is now. At 29, he still has four years to equal Pacquiao’s record and he is into the territory where Manny earned his keeps before crashing into the circle of elite pay per view boxing superstars.
Donaire’s split decision win did not really reflect his dominance over Vasquez, a grizzled young fighter who has the genes of his father and namesake Wilfredo Sr., himself a former elite world boxing champion. Nonito made Vasquez a reluctant stalker who cannot seem to get in track with the Filipino’s stinging jabs and fleet footed quickness. A right uppercut stunned Vasquez in the ninth round before falling down from a left hook several seconds later.
Vasquez was no pushover. He had the skills and power but was not able to use them against Donaire who is ranked as high as fourth in the mythical pound for pound list. Donaire is simply several cuts above him.
Styles, they say make a fight. For the second time in a row, Donaire met a technical boxer who knew how not to get hurt. In so many times, these kinds of boxers are frustrating Donaire who repeatedly showboated during his match with Vasquez.
Often misunderstood for his cockiness and too much assimilation towards the American ways, Donaire has the makings of another crossover boxing superstar who can draw in the American audience and command a sizeable following in the pay per view market where the big tickets and, of course, million-dollar purses really are.
A few more fights in the super bantamweight division and Donaire could gun for his fifth boxing title.
There is Cuban defector Yuriorkis Gamboa who currently holds a piece or two of the featherweight crown. Gamboa also happens to be at the top of the talent-laden division that counts former champion Juan Manuel Lopez, Chris John and Orlando Salido.
But the hardest division is in the lightweight class where Juan Manuel Marquez is holding fort. Of course, four years down the road, Marquez may no longer be there but there will be others who will try to foil his bid to equal Pacquiao’s boxing record.
Donaire however had already said that a sixth boxing title in six different divisions is his main target.
At the rate he is going, he could snatch that target in two years.
After having achieved that, there is no telling what he could further aim at.
Right now, Nonito deserves a long second look.
He may be reason enough to expect that there is life to Philippine boxing after Manny hangs up his gloves. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Edwin G. Espejo of General Santos City writes for the asiancorrespondent.com)