There was once a boy born in Talibon, Bohol who grew up without electricity along with his three other siblings. Nobody ever thought he would grow up to be a five-division world champion when he attended the same school Manny Pacquiao went to in General Santos City, South Cotabato.
Nobody thought the scrawny and sickly (he had asthma) kid would grow up to be a man to bring down a Raging Bull face-first and flat on the canvas twice on his way to stardom, with the first exacting vengeance on his brother’s tormentor, the second, the cementing of his claim.
No one batted an eye when he chose to dominate the American amateur boxing scene years after he moved to the United States at age 11, following his father who chased his luck in the Land Where Dreams Come True.
After all, who would think that a frail child stood a chance when he cannot even defend himself from bullies in his mother land? He may have even doubted himself when he lost all those sparring sessions he had with older brother Glenn.
No one gave Nonito Donaire, Jr. a shot.
And it hasn’t changed after he lost badly in the wake of a 12-year run of winning every time he went up the ring. The Filipino Flash is back and is raring to show his formidable fighting form once again as he goes back to his roots. He has not fought on his own turf for 10 years.
Co-headlining the Pinoy Pride 30: D-Day card with WBO Minimumweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes, Donaire is out to smoke doubters who think that he has grown weak and could not pull the trigger against his opponents any more.
After winning accolades left and right in the amateur ranks with his older brother Glenn, Nonito decided to step up to the pros in 2001 where he won via a first round knockout. He lost his second bout but from there, he went on a 12 year winning rampage and claimed his rise to stardom via a surprise fifth-round demolition job of Vic Darchinyan, who previously mauled Glenn.
Filipinos were one with him during his loss against a superbly skilled Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba and were also shell-shocked when he was beaten by Nicholas Walters of Jamaica.
Being the champion that he is, Donaire vowed to bring back glory to his countrymen. And that starts on March 28 against William Prado of Brazil for the vacant North American Boxing Federation super bantamweight title.
“Pinoy Pride 30: D-Day” is brought to you by ABS-CBN Sports and ALA Promotions.