Weeks before, I along with millions of Filipinos were more wary of Nonito Donaire’s fight with Jorge Arce rather than Manny Pacquiao’s bout with Juan Manuel Marquez. Jorge Arce known as “El Travieso” (the mischievous one) definitely has a far more fearsome reputation than El Dinamita-Marquez, even though the latter is a sure thing for the boxing Hall of Fame.
Arce is known for always going forward and unleashing a barrage of punches. He’s very outspoken and has a proven fiery attack in the ring. There were many times in the past where Arce would call out Manny Pacquiao, particularly after the Filipino won against his Mexican compatriots.
Since Pacquiao had beaten Marquez, three times in the past we were all thinking of how he would beat Marquez rather than IF he could beat him. Would it go the distance? Would Manny finally be able to KO Marquez in the early rounds? Initially I couldn’t even fathom WHY Aurum would rather choose the Marquez fight over a rematch with Tim Bradley or with someone like Arce.
That’s the beauty and thrill of sports, the sheer unpredictability. So when Pacquiao was the one KOed by Marquez, the whole Filipino nation was in shock last December 9, 2012. For so long we believed our hero to be invincible, seeing him fall was worse than getting hurt ourselves. Now that he has lost convincingly, Pacquiao needs us more than ever, after lifting us up countless times before; it’s our turn to be there for him.
A week later the Donaire vs Arce fight was coming up. We heard the promises of a definitive finish from both camps. We know that Nonito has better technique, he’s more cerebral, he’s faster, taller and stronger than Arce. We could almost say the exact same thing for Pacquiao over Marquez. But Arce was even scarier with his pronouncements than Marquez could ever be, that’s just the way he is. I was so scared I didn’t even watch the fight live. I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to take the pain of another defeat so soon. I was suspecting most Filipinos felt the same way.
Sunday morning December 16 when my brother Tim texted me and my mom with Donaire’s KO victory, I STILL held my judgment or celebration til I saw it myself on free TV. And there it was clear as day. By the 2nd round Donaire had already scored a knockdown on Arce, with a lightning fast cross. Arce was shaking it off saying it was nothing and there was an even stronger look of determination on his face after he got up. Fresh from the week before, Pacquiao actually put Marquez down in the 5th both men got knocked down in their fight. SO I knew Arce was still dangerous at this point.
By the 3rd round Arce was even more fired up and tried to smother Nonito. But his problem was he couldn’t get near enough without getting hit by the jab. Donaire knew how to ‘fight tall’ using his superior reach and speed. The more frustrated Arce became the more aggressive he tried to come in and land his punch. This was where Donaire was waiting with a power punch of his own to knock him down in the last minute and again in the last second of the 3rd, which made the ref stop the fight.
When Nonito was proclaimed the winner, behind him was Apl D’Ap who held the WBO Feather Weight Title aloft. Apl D’Ap’s song JUMP IN featuring Jessica Sanchez and the Phil All Stars is already becoming a popular online video. In it there are a lot of tourist sites in the Philippines like waterfalls and the jeepney. Nonito is a great example of the message of the song of courage and going after your dreams.
Donaire was born in Talibon, Bohol. The town is the birthplace of 4th Phil Pres. Carlos P. Garcia. According to Wikipedia the coastal area is home to the “the Danajon Bank, which is the Philippines only double barrier reef and one of the few documented double barrier reefs in the world.”
The fight also marked the farewell match for sportscaster Larry Merchant who was inducted to the boxing hall of fame in 2009. Merchant is considered as one of the enduring faces and voices in the sport with a career spanning 35 years. This is the same Merchant who had an on air tiff last year with Floyd Mayweather who said, “you don’t know sh__ about boxing.” To which he responded, “If I were 50 years younger I’d kick your ass!” Mayweather apologized last May to the Boxing Hall of Famer.