By Chris Robinson
Nonito Donaire’s stock has steadily risen over the past few years and despite a bumpy 2011 that saw him caught up in a promotional snafu with promoters Top Rank and Golden Boy, there’s no denying his talent or star appeal.
One man who isn’t shy about heaping praise upon Donaire is Sergio Martinez, the lineal middleweight champion of the world. Speaking through his friend and translator Marcelo Crudele recently from his training camp in Oxnard, California, where he is preparing for a March 17th assignment against the United Kingdom's Matthew Macklin, Martinez went as far as to say that Donaire would eventually rule as the sport’s number one fighter.
“I don’t have any doubt about that, that Nonito Donaire, even before I retire, Donaire is going to be the best, pound for pound,” Martinez claimed.
Pressed for reasons as to why he is so smitten with the 29-year old Fil-Am star, Martinez stated his case.
“Not only physical, he is very quick, has fast hands and power on his punches,” said Martinez of Donaire. “And he has extraordinary intelligence.”
Just as quickly, however, Martinez then changed his tone when discussing Donaire’s countryman Manny Pacquiao, the reigning WBO welterweight champion of the world.
Whether it is because of his personal interest in a fight with him or not, Martinez simply feels that Pacquiao’s recent run of success has had just as much to do with the matchmaking of Top Rank as opposed to anything else.
“Pacquiao is a product of his promoters. How long didn’t Manny Pacquiao fight somebody good, like, for example, [Juan Manuel] Marquez, and that fight was a little controversial. Those three fights were controversial, they were hard for Pacquiao,” said Martinez, bringing up Pacquiao’s debatable November decision over Marquez in their trilogy bout in Las Vegas.
Martinez was asked if he felt staging a third meeting with Marquez was a move that backfired on Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, simply because he might have felt that the 38-year old Mexico City star was finished heading into the fight.
“Not only Bob Arum thought about it,” stated Martinez. “Everybody was thinking about if it was the last fight for Marquez. Especially the third fight with Manny Pacquiao.”