HOUSTON – Nonito Donaire Jr. returns to the warm embrace of the Filipino people as he arrives in Manila on Wednesday fresh from his inspiring victory over Mexican Jorge Arce.
The holder of the World Boxing Organization super-bantamweight title is expected to arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 at around 5:30 a.m. from San Francisco, where he is currently based.
Donaire, 30, is coming from a total domination of his friend Arce, who he dismantled in just three rounds of their 12-round title fight at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas four days ago.
“I’m gonna rest, have a good holiday, and come back next year,” said Donaire prior to departing for the Philippines late Monday night (Tuesday in Manila).
The triumph couldn’t have come at a better time.
In a country still reeling from the shock sixth-round knockout loss of its beloved son Manny Pacquiao at the hands of Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez, Donaire lifted the throbbing hearts of the Filipinos by pulling off an equally amazing win opposite a known all-action fighter in Arce.
Significantly, the conquest came barely a week before Christmas.
“Sana `yung Pasko ninyo mag-enjoy kayo,” said Donaire in addressing his countrymen minutes after knocking Arce out.
The win over the 33-year-old Arce, who announced his retirement shortly after the bout, solidified the Filipino’s bid for the coveted Fighter of the Year honor. It was his fourth victory in four title matches this year, counting his earlier triumphs over marquee fighters Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., Jeffrey Mathebula, and Toshiaki Nishioka.
Nonetheless, he has nothing but good words for his Mexican foe, who went out with a 61-7 record, including 46 KOs and four division world titles.
“Arce is a good friend of mine and will always be a friend of mine,” said the `Filipino Flash.’
“He came in there and gave his all. His body was a lot in shape than I was. I looked the younger one on fight night and that was the key.”