It was another show of the sportsmanship that endeared Nonito Donaire [38(24)-5(1)] to Belfast fight fans but, along with the outpourings of praise, the four-weight World champion was criticised for it.
Not long after World Boxing Super Series top seed Ryan Burnett made the brave move of picking the future Hall of Fame fighter as his quarter final opponent in a talent and belt pack tournament, ‘The Filipino Flash’ posted a picture of the future opponents and their partners sharing a meal in Moscow.
For some it was another show of what makes boxing stand out as a sport but Donaire, who warmly embraced Burnett upon selection, has revealed he received stick for his shows of sportsmanship.
The 35-year-old, who was recently outpointed by Carl Frampton at the SSE Odyssey Arena, hit back at the online detractors and called for people to stop supporting ‘fake hate’.
The experienced and popular puncher also pointed out that the meal and friendly time spent with WBA titlist Burnett [19(9)-0] won’t stop him trying to do damage come fight night and certainly won’t quash his hunger to win an eighth World title.
“Ryan Burnett selected me as his pick. It’s refreshing that we both agree this is a sport. This isn’t street fighting. There’s no need to trash talk and be a way that doesn’t align to us. Make no mistake, inside the ropes we will both try to take each others’ head off,” Donaire explained on social media.
“I’m getting flak for being a sportsman. Can you believe this bullshit? – Y’all want me to be a bully?” asked the Filipino-born, California-raised fighter.
“Stop with the pettiness and BS! Boxing is a sport and is respected as such just as much as a soccer player can have dinner with another soccer player from another country or basketball player from another county. It’s a sport and there is nothing personal.”
“So stop accepting that you need to be a bad guy to get viewership. Stop accepting that you need to be a stereotypical uneducated person who needs to be mad at the world to get support.”
“Support those who want to make a difference. That colors and borders dont mean s***. We are all human and deserve respect. Because honestly, we have started to forget that.”
“Stop supporting fake hate. As a matter of fact, how about you stop supporting HATE altogether?”
“Y’all dont need bad blood for a good fight. A good fight starts with two amazing talented fighters without any political, racial or religious agendas. Period.”
The response was passionate and one Belfast and Irish fans will support after they saw Donaire show their city and their fighter respect while still doing all he could to beat Frampton in April.
Donaire meets Burnett in the first round of season two when the WBSS kicks off again in September and October.
No venue has been determined yet and the bout will be a double-header along with one of the other 11 quarter-finals across three weights but it is hoped that Belfast and the SSE Odyssey Arena will again play host to Donaire.