Elevate discourse in Donaire vs. Casimero

This is my Fair Play column for SunStar Cebu’s July 1, 2021 edition.

Having played the heel since relocating to the United States, I knew the lead up to Johnreil Casimero’s reunification bout with Nonito Donaire might get nasty. But I didn’t expect it to get so nasty that Donaire is withdrawing from the fight unless Cuadro Alas issues a public apology to Nonito’s wife, Rachel, who is also his manager.

It started with the issue on what type of testing both fighters should undergo but things online got so heated that it’s gone misogynistic, with one camp’s supporters saying that as a woman, Rachel has no place in boxing. And worse, the Filipino Flash—who’s been based in the US since his father relocated the family—gets called as someone who isn’t a real Filipino.

BELOW THE BELT. Nonito Donaire Jr. blasted Johnreil Casimero’s camp for misogynistic attacks on his wife and manager Rachel Donaire. (PHOTO GRABBED FROM DONAIRE’S FACEBOOK PAGE)

I think the best thing for now is for Casimero and his camp to learn how to behave on social media. I guess you can call it a blessing that his account isn’t verified.

I know Casimero is trying to follow Floyd Mayweather Jr. who laughed his way to the bank as boxing’s heel but he’s not doing it the right way.

Besides, as the cliche goes, it’s 2021. It’s time to drop the gender attacks, you know.

Attacking Donaire’s heritage is also a major misstep. Sean Gibbons, the president of Manny Pacquiao promotions, fanned the flames by adding “Real Filipino” to his tweets, insinuating that Donaire wasn’t. That’s ironic, since we all know that Pacquiao topped the PPV charts at the height of his career because of watch-parties organized by Filipinos based in the US. Yes, Filipinos like the Donaire family who tried their luck in the land of milk and honey.

A grown man recently told the mother of my two boys to ‘snack on his ____. We cannot ignore this unprofessional behavior.

Nonito Donaire on Facebook

I think, at one time, Bob Arum said that he didn’t care what the boxing purists thought of Pacquiao’s foes because he knows Pacquiao’s solid base—the Filipinos in the US—will buy his fights.

And now, here we are, the head of Pacquiao’s company insinuating guys like Donaire aren’t real Filipinos. For that, he should apologize. I know guys in boxing say all kinds of crazy stuff to sell a fight, but that’s just wrong.

Every Filipino family has that one family member who has relocated abroad. Heck, even our President has a nephew based in the US, and our Vice President has siblings also based in America.

Like Donaire, they’re all Filipinos. Period. That shouldn’t be even up for discussion.

Because it’s Donaire vs. Casimero, this is a fight that will sell itself. There’s no need to resort to any gimmicks or drama to gain attention. As the late President Noynoy Aquino said whenever he felt the focus was on the wrong issues, “Let’s elevate the level of discourse.”

No misogyny. No attacks on heritage.

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