The pressure of being tagged as Manny Pacquiao's heir apparent fails to ruffle World Boxing Association (WBA) interim world champion Nonito Donaire, Jr.
"Marami pong pressure, of course," Nonito acknowledged to PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview last August 24 at the press conference of Celebrity Duets held at Annabel's restaurant on Tomas Morato, Quezon City.
"Malaking karangalan sa akin na ganun 'yong tingin sa akin ng mga tao. Ang sa akin lang, malaking pressure, pero ginawa kong motivation para maabot ko 'yong goals ko."
Fresh from his impressive victory last August 15 against Rafael Concepcion of Panama, Nonito instantly enjoyed public adulation fit rightfully for a hero. A motorcade specially arranged by Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim was staged two days after Donaire's conquest of Concepcion. Donaire's triumph likewise changed his status overnight from that of a boxer to a certified celebrity.
"Ganun pa rin," he said. "Thankful lang po ako sa lahat ng nangyayari sa akin and I'm just thankful na nandoon 'yong pagmamahal at suporta ng mga tao and, of course, God has blessed me with all of these."
SINGING FIGHTER. Nonito—who earned the moniker The Filipino Flash—will momentarily trade his boxing gloves for a microphone as he joins GMA-7's Celebrity Duets, which will air this Saturday, August 29.
PEP relayed to Nonito the concern expressed by some boxing fans and analysts that joining show business at this point of his still burgeoning ring career might proved to be catastrophic in the long run.
"Hindi naman araw-araw 'tong Celebrity Duets. At the meantime na may free time ako, Saturday lang naman 'to and most of the time, kahit saan-saan makaka-practice ka naman. Kaya nga ako nag-join sa Celebrity Duets kasi feel ko hindi naman magkakaroon ng conflict," explained Nonito, who was born in Talibon, Bohol but raised in General Santos—hometown of the current Pound-for-Pound King, Manny Pacquiao.
Boxing and not showbiz said Nonito remains to be his ultimate priority: "Kung may conflict sa boxing, I'll limit the [television] appearances or going into shows. Pero kung kaya naman and nag-e-enjoy naman ako, why not?"
Like his other Celebrity Duets rivals, Nonito confessed feeling unconfident with his singing voice, "Pang-shower lang po," he grinned animatedly.
Still, and despite of his uncertainty when it comes to his singing capabilities, the champion boxer revealed a side of him not known to the public.
"Pero sa akin, and music importante sa akin 'yan. It's part of me talaga, it calms me down. Music is a big part of my life," said Nonito, who cited Gary Valenciano and Martin Nievera as two of his music heroes.