On paper Nonito Donaire's 18-5 record for the decade is rather dire, but the reality is that he did more in the decade than most will realise. He went up and down the scales, one of the very few fighters to actually have success whilst going back down in weight, and proved to be incredibly competitive in mid 30's, years after many wrote him off. He is a man who has revived his career multiple times in the decade and proven so much more than many would have realised during a 10 year span that saw him move from Super Flyweight all the way up to Featherweight, then back down to Bantamweight. Not did he do that, but he took some big scalps along the way and remained one of the most classy and humble competitors the sport has ever seen.
Beginning the decade Donaire had abandoned the Flyweight division and had just claimed the WBA "interim" Super Flyweight title, stopping Rafael Concepcion. He didn't remain at 115lbs for long, though did take a very notable TKO8 win over Hernan Marquez before leaving the division to compete at Bantamweight. It was at Bantamweight that he looked his best, dominating Volodymyr Sydorenko in his Bantamweight debut before scoring a sensational win over Fernando Montiel, to claim the WBC and WBO Bantamweight titles. His pursuit of a challenge saw him unify the WBO and IBF Super Bantamweight titles, winnign the WBO belt from Wilfredo Vazquez Jr before beating Jeffrey Mathebula for the IBF title. Sadly his reign at 122lbs left something to be desired, as he went legend chasing with wins over Toshiaki Nishioka and Jorge Arce, rather than legacy chasing.
A loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux in 2013 lead Donaire to move up to Featherweight where he looked poor, yet still ended up picking up the WBA title. Wins over Vic Darchinyan and Simpiwe Vetyeka came in some poor performances and a loss to Nicholas Walters showed that the weight wasn't a good one for the "Filipino Flash" who moved back down to Super Bantamweight and reclaimed the WBO title there. The reign was a short one, losing a very competitive bout in his second defense against Jessie Magdaleno, and it was here that many thought he was a spent fight. A loss to Carl Frampton in 2018 seemed to further prove that.
After the loss to Frampton we saw Donaire move back down to Bantamweight to compete in the WBSS and was given no chance by many and was a 34/1 outsider for the tournament. Many thought that a former Featherweight champion making Bantamweight was going to be too much, but the reality is that he made the weight really well and looked big, strong, powerful and tough. A nightmare for anyone. He would defeat the much fancied Ryan Burnett, the #1 seed and the #2 favourite, in his quarter final bout and then stop Stephon Young toe reach the final, where he gave Naoya Inoue a real test.
It's expected that Donaire will get another big fight in 2020, and we wouldn't be surprised at all if he ended up picking up another world title. Even in his late 30's he still looks a real handful and has had a very impressive decade, no matter what his record states.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features