Nonito Donaire just might win fighter of the year honors if he can score a dominant victory over Jorge Arce when the two meet on HBO in Houston next month.
A win over Arce would be a great way to cap off what has been a stellar year for the 30-year-old Filipino-American fighter known as the Filipino-Flash.
The fight against Arce will be the fourth of the year for Donaire, which is something that just doesn't happen anymore in the sport.
Most of the elite fighters on the mythical pound-for-pound list only fight once or maybe twice a year, so for Donaire to fight four times in the same year is pretty remarkable.
It's not as though he has been fighting bums either. So far in 2012, Donaire has faced and defeated three former or current world champions.
First up was Puerto Rico's Wilfredo Vasquez Jr., who sported a record of 21-1-1 with 18 knockouts coming in to the fight with Donaire. The fight went the full 12 rounds for the vacant WBO 122-pound title, and while the judges had it a split decision, in reality it wasn't even close.
Although it wasn't as exciting as Donaire's devastating knockout of Fernando Montiel the previous year, it was still an impressive win over the former WBO super bantamweight titleholder.
Next up for the slick Bay Area fighter was IBF super bantamweight titleholder Jeffery Mathebula, who posed a big challenge for the 5'5" fighter.
Mathebula, at nearly 6'0", is freakishly tall for the weight division, but in the end it wouldn't make any difference as Doniare would go on to dominate his much taller foe, knocking him down in the fourth round and breaking his jaw on the way to a unanimous 12-round decision win.
Then just last month on Oct. 13, Donaire was back in action against Japan's Toshiaki Nishioka, who was considered coming in to the fight the best super bantamweight in the world.
The fight was initially pretty boring as the rightful WBC 122-pound champion Nishioka was very wary of the power-punching Donaire and seemed more worried about his defense than initiating any offense of his own.
The fight picked up in Round 6 when Doniare dropped Nishioka for the first time in the fight. After tasting the canvas, the Japanese fighter seemed to come alive and actually started fighting back, but he was no match for Donaire.
The fight would come to an end in Round 9 when Nishioka once again was put on the canvas. He would beat the count, but referee Raul Caiz Sr. would stop the fight seconds later following another brutal combination of punches from Donaire.
In Arce, Donaire will be facing a 17-year veteran of the sport with 70 fights under his belt. Arce has held titles in four weight divisions and is one of the most exciting fighters in all of boxing.
If Donaire can add a win over Arce to his 2012 resume, I think he will be a lock for fighter of the year honors.
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