Filipino Flash heads to top ranked fight card

Nonito Donaire, the "Filipino Flash" from San Leandro, is headed to a top ranked fight card in Las Vegas, but first had to face Larry Beil.

February 3, 2011 7:56:31 PM PST
He may be the best boxer you never heard of, but that could change soon. His name is Nonito Donaire. The Bay Area bantamweight is headlining a top ranked fight card February 19th in Las Vegas. I had a chance to step into the ring with the man known as the Filipino Flash.

When Donaire speaks, it is wise for young boxers to listen. Donaire hasn't lost a fight in 10 years and takes a 24-bout winning streak into his showdown with bantamweight champion Fernando Montiel.

Donaire got into boxing to avoid being bullied as a kid. He says, "Bullies made fun of me. They called me Dumbo because I got big ears. They called me Bucktoothed Beaver because I got big teeth. You know, stuff like that. You know kids can be really mean because they don't really know what's wrong or right sometimes."

Donaire was born in the Philippines, but grew up in San Leandro. As I would learn, they call him the Filipino Flash for a reason -- his hands are like lightning.

Though he is not a household name here, he's a rock star in his native country -- second only to Manny Pacquiao. Donaire gets mobbed everywhere.

"Once that first picture snaps, there's more coming. I mean, I'm blessed with all of that. I am truly, truly blessed that I made it this far from a kid who was bullied, from a kid who never thought I would be this," says Donaire.

I had to find out what all the fuss was about. After all, how much damage could Donaire do at 120 pounds? We started out slowly with me wearing the trainer's pads.

Then we decided to take it up a notch and I climbed into the ring with boxing gloves -- and a body protector. I went easy on him with pitter-patter punches. I mean, I didn't want to hurt him.

Donaire could tell I was getting tired after the first minute. However, things got a bit more serious, but I quickly learned nailing Donaire was like hitting an invisible man.

I did connect a few times, but he didn't like that and let's just say, thank goodness I had the chest protector on.

After the longest three minutes of my life came to an end, I came away frustrated, but alive.

Donaire said, "Very, very good job, but I think you're better as a trainer though."

Donaire has a free public workout set for this Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Undisputed Gym in San Carlos.

Undisputed Boxing Gym
883 East San Carlos Ave.
San Carlos, CA 94070