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Donaire fighter of the year?

Nonito Donaire Jr. ABAC CORDERO

LOS ANGELES – Bob Arum knows how to run a good campaign and all year round he’s been pitching for Nonito Donaire as the Fighter of the Year awardee.

Donaire installed himself as a very strong candidate after winning all his four fights for 2012. His sensational knockout of Mexican Jorge Arce last Saturday could be the icing on the cake.

“Fighter of the year,” Arum said when asked about the significance of Donaire’s victory at the Toyota Center in Houston.

Pinoy scribes caught up with the 81-year-old promoter at the George W. Bush airport in Houston Sunday morning as he was to board a flight to Las Vegas with his wife, Lovee.

Arum didn’t talk much about Donaire because it was the 30-year-old knockout artist who had done much of the talking – inside the ring.

Arum was flying home to Vegas after watching the action at the Toyota Center, and said he would be spending the holidays in South Africa.

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Donaire was unstoppable, unbeatable this year.

Last February, he won the vacant WBO super-bantamweight crown by outpointing Wilfredo Vasqez Jr. While he failed to score a knockout it was still a dominant win.

Then in July, he brought then IBF champion Jeffrey Mathebula down once en route to another points victory. With the win, he stayed on track for whatever he was aiming for.

Donaire was given another chance to shine last October, and he did by finally scoring a knockout, this time against Japan’s Toshiani Nishioka.

Donaire was bleeding from a cut in his left knuckle after the fight, and the advise he got from people close to him was to rest the rest of the year.

But the opportunity came for him to fight Arce.

Arum said they didn’t let it slip away because a victory over the flamboyant Mexican may clinch the Fighter of the Year award for Donaire.

He delivered the knockout.

Donaire, a Filipino now living in San Francisco, needed less than three rounds to force the 33-year-old warrior into retirement.

And when the Boxing Writers Association of the Philippines hands out the Fighter of the Year award sometime in June, it could be Donaire’s name inside the envelope.

There are other choices out there, including Juan Manuel Marquez who knocked out Pacquiao last Dec. 8 at the MGM Grand.

If for the magnitude of his victory over Pacquiao, a vote for Marquez should be a good vote.

Pacquiao has won the coveted award three times (2006, 2008 and 2009). He is the first Filipino ever to be included in the BWAA’s scroll of champions.

Here comes Donaire.

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