Manny Pacquiao was just another regular hustling, bustling super-featherweight in June 2007, when Nonito Donaire knocked out Vic Darchinyan in sensational fashion to claim the IBF flyweight title.
If Pacquiao's truly great days were still ahead of him, it seemed momentarily that they had just arrived for his fellow Filipino Donaire, who had not been given much hope against the unbeaten, big-punching Darchinyan.
Yet it did not prove to be the breakthrough Donaire had been hoping for, hampered mainly by the fact that Darchinyan showed little inclination to climb back in the ring for what would have been a big money re-match.
While Pacquiao moved on to pay-per-view blockbusters against the likes of Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton, Donaire contented himself with a number of low-key defences before moving up to bantamweight last time out.
On Saturday night in the suitably plush surroundings of the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Donaire will finally get his chance to put his name up in lights alongside his countryman once and for all.
In one of the year's most anticipated fights, Donaire takes on the brilliant Mexican Fernando Montiel, holder of the WBC and WBO bantamweight titles and key-holder to a legacy Donaire hopes will one day match Pacquiao's.
"Manny is an inspiration in my career - an inspiration in boxing and how I want to be," said Donaire.
"I am inspired and I see no impossibility to move up to 130lbs or even more - to see how far I can go.
"First there is the chance to become undisputed champion. I am willing to move up but after Montiel I will have two belts and will need one more to accomplish a dream I had since I was a small boy."
Donaire versus Montiel is a mighty fight. Since battering the mouthy Darchinyan, Donaire has reeled off seven victories, six inside the distance. In his bantam debut last time out, he stopped tough Volodymyr Sydorenko in four.
"In my fight with Sydorenko I felt stronger and faster," said Donaire.
"Mainly in the last two weeks of camp I'm usually cutting down in weight, but this time we are not having to worry about that too much."
In Montiel, Donaire is meeting another mighty puncher who had a stellar 2010 by any standards, scoring four straight world title defences inside four rounds, including a fearless trip to Japan to knock out local hero Hozumi Hasegawa.
Pleasingly, Donaire and Montiel are old friends and thoroughly respectful of each other's abilities. While Donaire obviously believes he will win, he acknowledges the threat posed by the Mexican.
"I think Montiel is the most complete fighter I will have faced," added Donaire.
"This is the biggest fight of my career. People say he may be shot after so long up there, but he is up there and capable of anything.
"This is going to be a strategic fight. He's the smartest guy I've ever faced. One mistake from me or one mistake from him and it's going to be over. It's not going to last 12 rounds."
It is the kind of fight the boxing world badly needs - a genuine, explosive 50-50 contest between two fighters who have never once shirked the world title opportunities sent their way.
None of Montiel's recent performances have suggested his advancing years could prove a factor and as a fully-fledged and concussive-punching bantamweight he may just start a slim favourite.
But if Donaire can pull off another stunning victory like he did against Darchinyan three years ago, it will be time for boxing's other Filipino to finally get the plaudits he was strangely denied.
"Everybody was shocked," recalled Donaire about the Darchinyan fight.
"People wondered if it was a fluke or not. I've defeated everyone put in front of me. This is the opportunity I wanted. Now I have to make it happen."
Tags: Nonito Donaire , Fernando Montiel , Montiel-Donaire , Montiel vs Donaire