Their Stories – The Most Underrated Legend of Modern Times (Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire) 🇵🇭

By Tré Berry III🖋️

Surely when you look at boxing in its totality dating back the last 20-25 years, the greats of the sport typically roll off the tongue with minimal effort, as they carried the sport through their generation…Roy Jones Jr., Marco Antonio Barrera, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Erik Morales, Bernard Hopkins, the list goes on. For whatever reason, there is a legend that tends to fall through the cracks when it comes to regular Barbershop conversations, and that is 🇵🇭Nonito Donaire (40-5-0, 26KO👊) of the Philippines. If you really take a step back to analyze all he has accomplished in his career… then you’d clearly come to the realization that he belongs in the conversation for one of the previous generations best, who’s merit rests more on deservedly being a part of the conversation itself. Let’s take an inner view to what made Donaire the best little fighter in boxing for a duration of time, and what made him turn into “The Filipino Flash” that we’ve grown accustomed to watching.

Donaire is a 9X World Champion in 4-divisions, yes…a 9X Titlist, only superseded by legends 🥉🇺🇸Floyd Mayweather Jr., ♛🇵🇭Manny Pacquiao & ♛🥇🇺🇸Oscar De La Hoya in boxing history, three vanguards of the last couple generations to give some perspective of what Donaire accomplished when it comes to the scope of the modern picture of boxing. He was the second fighter, and only 1 of 3 fighters from the Philippines to achieve becoming a Quadruple-Crown winner (⚖️112, 118, 122, 126 lbs.) and he became the RING-MAGAZINE/LINEAL Champion at Super-Bantamweight, his 3rd division that he officially won a World Title in. He was a 2X Unified-Champion in as many weights, accomplishing that at both Flyweight & Bantamweight.

He has ran through many elite fighters, and first kicked the door off of the hinges to upset & knock out the menacing 🇦🇲Vic Darchinyan to win his first World Title at Flyweight. Darchinyan who bounced back in full form to become Undisputed Super-Flyweight Champion following his defeat had a rematch with Donaire later on in his career, and suffered a similar fate, getting knocked out by the Filipino Flash once again. Nonito defeated South Africa’s 🇿🇦Moruti Mthalane back in 2008, Mthalane who is dominant till this day as one of the 2 best Flyweights in the world, who is on an 11 year winning streak since his aforementioned loss to Donaire. Nonito dominated 4-division Champion & Mexican warrior 🇲🇽Jorge Arce, and also defeated an in-prime, undefeated, long-reigning 🇦🇷Omar Narvaez, who would further cement his place in rarified company of Argentina’s greatest boxers.
A dominant win over at the time, Donaire destroyed P4P ranked #7 fighter 🇲🇽Fernando Montiel and further 📈bolstered Donaire’s stature in the sport as clearly one of its best Champions going at the time, universally recognized as top-4 P4P talent. Other quality wins include big time victories over 🇵🇷Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., 🇲🇽Hernan Marquez, 🥉🇺🇦Volodymyr Sydorenko & 🇯🇵Toshiaki Nishioka. It wasn’t just the fighters he cleared on his journey, but it was also the manner in which he defeated them, dominating most of the match-ups at the peak of his powers. A winner of 15 World Title fights, he also defeated 13 World Champions along the way, and went about his business properly, always looking to fight the best, and ✏️test himself against the creme of the crop, to where he became the cream himself. There are a few reasons why he is overlooked, here is what comes to mind.

While Donaire was on his historic run in the lower weight divisions, as well as in Filipino history, Manny Pacquiao was dominating boxing at an even higher 📎clip, and doing so at the same time, and was much more in the visible eye as boxing’s biggest superstar. Considering how special Pacquiao’s run was (and still is to this day), and taking into consideration him achieving as much as you possibly could in the sport of boxing, some people viewed Donaire as an after-thought, some got spoiled with Manny’s achievements to put Donaire’s legacy into proper context, and some simply didn’t realize that Donaire was putting together this type of campaign.

Though this area is getting rectified, it is still a problem to a degree, and has been a problem in boxing throughout history. It is understandable that seeing bigger fighters captures the imagination of the general population, especially considering that the higher the weight, the more likely it is to see the power yielded to satisfy their curiosity of a contest, which is why the Heavyweight division has been, and always will be the most coveted division at its core when you think about things in that context and under those guidelines specified. Some people just didn’t pay close enough attention to understand that Donaire was special, despite him getting significant 📺TV time, as they focused on heavier boxers who operated on the same level of brilliance.

They say that a light bulb flickers at its brightest before it’s about to go out, and when you consider Donaire’s reluctance to take any easy opposition, and lining up Champions back-to-back-to-back, he took on all the best, and it can physically and mentally take a toll on you. Daring to be great, he went up to the Featherweight division where he was bombed out by “The Axe Man” 🪓🇯🇲Nicholas Walters, and Donaire was never really the same since, even though he looks the part of a somewhat rejuvenated fighter now. When you look at the totality of years where he was in his prime🤔…you could say it spanned an amount of 7 years from 2007 – 2014. Typically legends tend to have a span of success or dominance at the top upwards to a decade barring any tragedies, but for Donaire, the amount of work he did in those years supersedes the years itself, serving as quality over quantity as he achieved an insane amount of success throughout that time span.
A BROADER PERSPECTIVE – In terms of looking at smaller fighters from ⚖️118 on down to ⚖️105, a case could be made for Donaire being the most accomplished since the great 🇲🇽Ricardo Lopez and definitely as one of the best fighters between the weights once you put the scope on and throw the resumé aside. Donaire is without a doubt First-Ballot Hall-of-Fame worthy, and he deserves the type of respect from the general public that boxing insiders give him when the totality of his career is looked at. One of the greatest fighters of all-time from Asia, his greatest challenge is coming up next against 🇯🇵Naoya Inoue, who took Donaire’s spot for his generations sake, displaying a wider range of abilities, but Donaire is a proud Champion, who will give everything that he has left, and will make one more go at it, once again putting his Championship level heart on his sleeve for the world to see. Whatever happens, a salute to a great ambassador for the sport, Nonito Donaire Jr.

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