Donaire named Boxer of the Year by ESPN

For the fourth time in the last 13 years, a Filipino is ESPN.com's Boxer of the Year.

The legendary Manny Pacquiao? Not quite. Make way for the Filipino Flash, Nonito Donaire Jr.


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Armed with a 31-1 win-loss record, laced by 20 knockouts, the 30-year-old Donaire was on a roll in 2012, racking up four impressive victories to further cement his status as one of the elite pound-for-pound fighters in the world today.

More than his remarkable showing atop the ring, ESPN has also taken notice of Donaire’s spirited stand against the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Interestingly, Donaire is the only boxer in the world who has agreed with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association for random urine and blood testing year-round: 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

"I don't mind it. I think it's a good for the sport and I am going to do it. It's a good idea. I have nothing to hide. I would love for all fighters to follow me, but not everybody is like me,” Donaire was quoted as saying by Dan Rafael of espn.com.

Convinced he has already got enough skills to face–and beat–the best, Donaire moved up in weight class and battled WBO super bantamweight titleholder Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. of Puerto Rico in February at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The Filipino dropped his rival in the ninth round and eked out a split decision victory.

Five months later, Donaire battled Jeffrey Mathebula at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California, breaking the South African’s jaw en route to adding the IBF super bantamweight title to his collection.

Proving his victory at the California venue was no fluke, Donaire tangled up with Toshiaki Nishioka in October, knocking him down twice before the Japanese corner threw in the towel in the ninth round. The ‘Filipino Flash’ retained the WBO belt while winning the vacant The Ring and WBC Diamond super bantamweight titles in the process. Donaire also reportedly earned at least $800,000 in this bout–his biggest purse ever.

While Pacquiao endured a rough showing this year, Donaire sustained his charge and essayed a picture-perfect performance against former Mexican titlist Jorge Arce in December.

Despite a nagging injury on his left hand, Donaire proved too much for Arce, dropping the Mexican thrice before finishing the bout in style: a crisp, perfectly-timed left hook, knocking the challenger out while sending him into retirement.

Also in the mix for this year’s award were Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez (light welterweight), Puerto Rico’s Danny Garcia (light welterweight), American Robert Guerrero (welterweight), Mexican Leo Santa Cruz (bantamweight), American Andre Ward (middleweight), the Philippines’ Brian Viloria (flyweight) and British Carl Froch (super middleweight).

Pacquiao won the ESPN award in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

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