THE Filipino people served as the biggest inspiration of Nonito Donaire Jr. in his latest conquest inside the ring.
The super-bantamweight champion of the world paid tribute to his countrymen upon arrival from the US early Wednesday morning, stressing he just wants to lift their spirits in time for the holiday season.
“Without you, I won’t have an inspiration, so I wanted to give you all something to smile about and something to be proud of,” said the 30-year-old Donaire in an interview granted shortly after he was greeted by a hero’s welcome at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 upon arrival from San Francisco.
The `Filipino Flash’ is just three days removed from his swift demolition of Mexican Jorge Arce in their World Boxing Organization title fight at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Donaire dropped his 33-year-old challenger thrice, the last time with a vicious left hook that took the fight out of Arce at the 2:59 mark of the third round.
“I did all I could to get that knockout so everybody can have a good Christmas,” he added.
The inspiring win came exactly a week after Filipino great Manny Pacquiao was knocked out cold by Mexican nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez in a welterweight match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Donaire didn’t exactly say the win over Arce was a way of avenging Pacquiao’s heartbreaking loss to Marquez, but he stressed he felt good to have done the Filipino race proud.
“I’m always proud to raise my flag which is the Philippine flag,” he said.
The champion went home without lovely wife Rachel, who went back to their home in Las Vegas to take a needed rest upon the advice of doctors, speculating rumors she is pregnant, which Donaire neither confirmed nor denied.
The boxing hero, holder of an impressive record of 31-1 with 20 KOs and unbeaten since 2001, appeared in the ABS-CBN morning show Umagang Kay Ganda straight from the airport, and later was the special guest in Ted Failon’s radio program over DZMM.
For the first time since that big win over Arce last Saturday (Sunday in Manila), Donaire watched the 12-round match in the company of ABS-CBN sports executive Peter Musngi over a sumptuous breakfast prepared for the champion by the giant network.
Donaire later on was also honored in the noontime program `It’s Showtime.’
“Mabuhay ang Pilipinas, and more shows throughout the day,” Donaire later tweeted in his account @Filipinoflash.
It’s a long day indeed for the country’s latest boxing icon.