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Nonito Donaire Contender for Fighter of the Year Award
With 2011 now on its final half, another Filipino looms as one of the contenders for boxing’s Fighter of the Year award.
Reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire Jr. is one of the top candidates for the year-end honors following his sensational second round knockout of Fernando Montiel in their February 19 title showdown at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
The 28-year-old Filipino was listed as the third likely candidate for the award by James Foley of Bleacher Report after his impressive destruction of the Mexican fighter considered to be one of the most durable in the 118-pound division.
Donaire, however, is caught in contract dispute with promotional outfit Top Rank an issue that could lessen his chances for the award. He decided to leave Bob Arum’s boxing stable and sign with rival Golden Boy Promotions of Oscar De La Hoya.
“Donaire is mired in a contract dispute between Top Rank and Golden Boy, and there aren’t any great opponents out there for him to improve his stock this year,” wrote Foley. “Inactivity and a lack of an elite late-year opponent will allow several guys to jump Donaire by year’s end.”
Foley however, said that Donaire’s astounding victory over Montiel is definitely one of the most remarkable in 2011. “But to this date, there’s a valid argument that Donaire’s win over Montiel was the single-best victory of the year.”
“His spine-tingling KO of then top-10 pound-for-pounder Montiel set the boxing world ablaze. He is the only pound-for-pound ranked fighter this year to beat another pound-for-pound ranked fighter. And he did it in sizzling, dominant fashion, affirming his lofty ranking while obliterating Montiel’s,” Foley said.
Incidentally, Fighter of the Decade Manny Pacquiao has not been mentioned among the top 10 candidates for the award, definitely not after overpowering Sugar Shane Mosley in their 12-round welterweight title bout that the Filipino won by way of a lopsided decision.
Topping Foley’s list is Victor Ortiz, who dealt previously unbeaten Andre Berto his first career loss by way of a stunning unanimous decision to wrest the WBC welterweight title.
Undisputed light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins is next at No. 2 in the light of his memorable and historic unanimous decision win over Jean Pascal and at 45, became the oldest man in the history of the sport to win a major world title.
After Donaire, unbeaten Yuriorkis Gamboa lands at No. 4 followed by Carl Froch.
Completing the Top 10 list are Brandon Rios (six), Robert Guerrero (seven), Saul Alvarez (eight), Orlando Salido (nine) and reigning Fighter of the Year Sergio Martinez (10).
Source: GMA News