By Lem Satterfield
Top Rank Promotions CEO, Bob Arum, weighed in with his thoughts on Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire, natives of the Philippines who also happen to be two of boxing's pound-for-pound best fighters.
The 32-year-old Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 knockouts) is an eight-division titlist as well as the current WBO welterweight champion, and will take a 13-bout winning streak that includes eight knockouts into his May 7 defense against Shane Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs).
The 28-year-old Donaire (26-1, 18 KOs) earned his second championship over as many weight divisions in February with his 25th straight victory, and his 10th stoppage in his past 12 fights, this, coming with a second-round stoppage that dethroned WBO and WBC champion Fernando Montiel (44-3-2, 34 KOs).
Arum had promoted Pacquiao and Donaire until Donaire recently signed with rival Golden Boy Promotions, although the validity of Donaire's contracts with both promotional companies is being litigated.
Pacquiao was born into poverty in General Santos City, Philippines, while Donaire, a San Leandro, Calif., resident, left his native Talibon, Bohol, Philippines, for America at the age of 10.
Arum spoke about both fighters in this Q&A with BoxingScene.com.
BoxingScene.com: Your thoughts on the Manny Pacquiao-Nonito Donaire hub-bub?
Bob Arum: From the stand point of Manny Pacquiao, it's not on the radar. Manny isn't that kind of person. Manny doesn't give it a thought as far as Nonito Donaire is concerned.
But Manny did just tell me, about Nonito Donaire's fight with Fernando Montiel, that Donaire looked terrific. But, they're not in the same orbit. They're not in the same class. They're not in the same group.
Manny is a Filipino who is of the Philippines. Nonito and [his wife] Rachel Donaire are Filipino Americans. They're not Filipinos in the same sense or in the same way as Manny Pacquiao.
BoxingScene.com: Do you see any similarities between the Julio Cesar Chavez-Oscar De La Hoya situation and that between Manny Pacquiao-Nonito Donaire?
BA: No, no, no, no, no. Nonito Donaire is a well-spoken kid who doesn't have a lot of empathy about him. He doesn't connect with the public because he seems more programmed and more aloof.
Manny has that charisma that connects with the public. And, Oscar De La Hoya was able to connect with the public in a certain way, but not as deeply as was Julio Cesar Chavez.
But Oscar was still able to connect.
BoxingScene.com: Do you think that with the rise of two, great Filipino fighters, that the tendancy to compare and to contrast -- even culturally -- was inevitable?
BA: No, because, again, Manny is a Filipino. Nonito is a Filipino American. They're two, different breeds. A Mexican National is different from a Mexican American. They're just different.
And the greatest rivalries in California boxing, for example, has been the Mexican Nationals against the Mexican Americans. It's always been a big, major rivalry. You can't lump them together.
BoxingScene.com: Is this necessarily bad for the sport?
BA: No. It's irrelevant. It's a non-issue as far as I'm concerned. They're different people from different cultures. They share a Philippines root. But, take 10 months ago, there was a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants.
He's half-Filipino. But does Tim Lincecum resonate with the Filipinos from the Philippines? No, because he's not of that group.