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Nonito Donaire: Pacquiao’s successor?

At 34 years old, Manny Pacquiao is still a young man, who no doubt has a lot of life left to live as one of the best pound-for-pound boxing champions his home country – and the boxing world in general – has ever seen. But there has been some speculation that the Fighting Pride of the Philippines will hang up his gloves in the not-too-distant future and further pursue his political aspirations.This has left some people to question who might fill his shoes when he decides to leave the squared circle for good.

That said, a new Filipino-born pugilist has been gaining notoriety in the boxing profession by the name of Nonito Donaire.

Described as the "Filipino Flash" by his fan base, Donaire isn't exactly a fresh face, as he turned professional back in 2001. As with other boxers, once he got into the profession, many of his bouts weren't highly publicized. Over time, though, he has gained somewhat of a following because of the success he's had.

For example, less than a year after turning pro, the 30-year-old defeated Kaichon Sor Vorapin, earning himself the World Boxing Organization Asia Pacific flyweight title, which was held by no one prior to his claim of the crown. It wasn't simply that he beat Sor Vorapin that impressed boxing experts, but how quickly and the way in which the contest was one, scoring a knockout mere minutes into the second round.

After notching several more victories – some coming by knockout, others by decision – Donaire went on to win the International Boxing Federation and International Boxing Organization Fly Weight World Titles after defeating Vic Darchinyan in July 2007. The Armenian southpaw was undefeated prior to losing to Donaire in the fifth round. And once again, as with his other matches, Donaire's performance in the ring earned him not only championship belts but also the highly sought after designations for delivering the "Knockout of the Year" and "Upset of the Year," which The Ring Magazine determines on annual basis.

Donaire has lost only once
Since these notable victories, Donaire has gone on to prove that he can compete with the boxing world's most elite. With an amateur record of 68 wins and 8 losses, many boxing aficionados would call that type of record one worthy to be proud of. His professional record has been even more impressive. In the 32 occasions in which he's fought as a pro, he's won 31 times, notching 20 knockouts in the process. His only loss came mere months after he turned pro, falling to Rosendo Sanchez by way of decision. Even today, many people believe that Donaire was the better performer.

On April 13, the Filipino Flash – who Ring Magazine calls the fourth-best pound-for-pound boxer in the industry – puts his near perfect title to the test when he faces Guillermo Rigondeaux. In 2012, Donaire fought on four separate occasions, but this matchup will be his first bout of 2013.

Donaire recently indicated that he's ready for whatever Rigondeaux brings.

"I watched Rigondeaux's last fight with [Robert] Marroquin and he's pretty decent," said Donaire recently, according to ESPN. "He's pretty good at countering, so I was getting excited about fighting him. It's a good fight. I look forward to taking that belt. That's my goal."

Should Donaire improves his record, he won't be making a money transfer to the Philippines for his family back home after he collects his earnings. However, he does hope to settle down relatively soon.

"I will do as much as I can this year, but my primary thing this year after this fight is having a family," said Donaire, ESPN reports. "I can win titles and more titles and it pays the bills but I also want to be a good father and husband."

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