by Ronnie Nathanielsz
An exhausted but grateful WBO/Ring Magazine and WBC Diamond Belt super bantamweight champion Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire left for his home in Las Vegas yesterday to enjoy Christmas with wife Rachel and friends and to throw a big party for his friends following an extremely successful year in the ring.
Donaire, who won the WBO title in February from Wilfredo Vazquez Jr of Puerto Rico and defended it successfully against Toshiaki Nishioka, IBF champion Jeffrey Mathebula of South Africa and Mexican warrior Jorge "Travieso" Arce, said he was "not thinking about boxing, not yet, but I expect to fight sometime around March or April so lets see what they (Top Rank) come up with."
Donaire who was given a truly warm welcome by fight fans as he guested on several top shows on the giant broadcast network ABS-CBN and its various radio networks and was special guest at the network's Christmas party told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard he was grateful for the wonderful reception given him by ABS-CBN chairman Gabby Lopez and top executives of the network including vice president for sports Peter Musngi.
The skilled fighter who is regarded as a top contender for "Fighter of the Year" honors said "Its been a great week, I enjoyed myself but I am tired. It was a short trip and always on the run but it all lifted my spirits."
Donaire was particularly grateful for his courtesy call on President Benigno Aquino III which he regarded as "memorable."
He recalled that when he first met President Aquino he had just been elected and "he was talking about all the things he wanted to do and now a few years after all the things he had said, he has done and that was interesting to me because wow, he meant what he said. That was admirable and I respect the president for that."
Donaire said there was one thing he noticed about the president and that is "he has changed. He is still that warm-hearted type of person, he is confident in knowing what he wants and is confident in creating change and he knows he can make it happen."
He said the president gave him "good advice about my career." Donaire said the president told him "don't get attached to boxing and forget that your life, your health and your family are more important. Being smart when the times comes" to quit the sport.