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Nonito Donaire Jr. delivers the punch that stopped Jorge Arce in the third round. Photo by AFP
If consistent performance is the basis, then Filipino American fighter Nonito Donaire Jr. should win Fighter of the Year honours hands down, according to fight experts.
But if impact is given more weight, then Mexican boxer Juan Manuel Marquez should frustrate “The Filipino Flash” once again.
These possibilities shaped up following Donaire’s devastating third-round knockout of Mexican Jorge Arce Saturday night at Toyota centre in Houston.
A week earlier, Marquez shook the world with a devastating one-punch knockout of Manny Pacquiao, arguably the best offensive boxer of his generation, in their fourth meeting in Las Vegas.
While Marquez shattered the Pacquiao mystique, built through years of explosive stints in the United States, with that dynamite right to Pacquiao’s chin, Donaire built up his reputation in the lower weight classes by dominating Arce, a four-division world champion.
While the left hook remained his main weapon, Donaire showed his right straight can also topple down opponents, using the same shot to knock down Arce in the second round.
Despite his frail-looking physique, Donaire also owns the most powerful and fearful punch among the lower-division fighters. His one-punch knockout of the then unbeaten Vic Darchinyan in 2007 and his one-punch stoppage of Fernando Montiel in 2011 are now part of the boxing lore as Knockout of the Year winners.
The left hook he unleashed against Arce was nearly as powerful, sending the Mexican motionless and senseless for about a minute.
Coupled with his earlier triumphs over former WBA titlist Wilfredo Velasquez in February, IBF champion Jeffrey Mathebula in July and former WBC super bantam champ Toshiaki Nishioka in October, the Arce stoppage should be the clincher for Donaire.
But experts have also rated highly Marquez’s unexpected knockout of Pacquiao, who neglected his defence for a second and paid the price.
For days, it was hot topic not only among boxing aficionados, but among sports fans, reaching the dugouts of the National Basketball Association and the National Football League, where Pacquiao is idolised by many superstars.
Promoter Bob Arum said Donaire’s masterful juggling of tactics and power against Arce has no equal.
“Fighter of the Year” was all Arum could say of Donaire Monday morning.
The Boxing Writers Association of America picked Andre Ward as Fighter of the Year over Donaire last year.
“If I win this time, that would be a great Christmas gift,” Donaire said.