It was more than a decade ago while checking out the internet that Nonito Donaire was getting an appreciation for the world’s perception of Filipino fighters.
And it wasn’t good.
“Back in 1998 until about 2000, I would go to boxing chats and I would see things like, ‘Filipino’s can crack an egg,’ or ‘Filipino fighters can’t break a ripe tomato,’ or they can’t even make an omelette correctly,'” recalled Donaire.
“It was whatever negative you could come up with about the fighters from the Philippines, basically saying that we bowed down to every opponent. And then, Manny Pacquiao came along.”
Today, however, Pacquiao and Donaire are among boxing’s premiere performers, ranked as Nos. 1, and, 3, respectively, on THE RING’s pound-for-pound list.
The 32-year-old Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 knockouts) is credited with having earned a record eight belts over as many different weight divisions.
Pacquiao takes a 14-fight winning streak that includes eight knockouts into his WBO welterweight defense opposite WBO and WBA lightweight beltholder Juan Manuel Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs) on Nov. 12.
The 28-year-old Donaire (26-1, 18 KOs) has held titles in three divisions and is the WBO and WBC bantamweight beltholder.
Donaire takes a 25-fight winning streak that includes 10 knockouts in his past 12 fights against WBO junior bantamweight beltholder Omar Narvaez (35-0, 23 KOs) of Argentina on Oct. 22.
“Watching a fighter like Manny Pacquiao has really inspired me and helped me to have the mentality that we can do anything possible, so this achievement is an incredible thing,” said Donaire, who, like Pacquiao, promoted by Top Rank Inc.
“Everyone in the Filipino community should be supporting us, because this is a special time. I mean, let’s not take for granted what we have going for the Filipino community.”
Other Filipino fighters in THE RING rankings for their respective weight classes are comprised of Denver Cuello and Florante Condes, who are rated seventh and ninth in the straw weights division; flyweight Rocky Fuentes and Milan Melindo at seventh and eighth; junior bantamweight Drian Francisco at No. 10; and bantamweight Malcolm Tunacao at No. 9.
Nicknamed, “The Pinoy Punch,” as well as, “The Hawaiian Punch,” WBO flyweight titleholder Brian Vilora is of Filipino decent. A former U.S. Olympian, Viloria (29-3, 16 KOs) was born in Hawaii.
“I’ve seen a lot of guys out there that are very talented guys and who know and believe in their minds that this is possible, and I hope that I can inspire them like Manny has inspired me to keep going and to keep it rolling on the world stage,” said Donaire.
“This should be inspiring to other Filipino fighters. This is something that we’ve never had, and I want to keep this thing going with Filipino fighters. I’m sure that we can make it happen.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]