If Bobby “Boxing Hippie” Diamond was still around Carol Doda’s and the other topless joints of then gamy North Beach, San Francisco, I know what he would’ve said about Bay Area resident Nonito Donaire’s clean, crisp KO 2 over Mexican champ Fernando Montiel Saturday night.
“He must think the Mexican guy is Jewish because he hit him right in the temple.”
Well, onetime New England feathherweight champeen and conqueror of Leo DiFiore, Diamond was funny like that.
When a Boston light heavyweight acqauitance of his was found rigor mortis in the water under the Mystic River Bridge in mobbed up Chelsea, Diamond said, “Well, Georgie was always proficient in doing the Dead Man’s Float.”
Diamond was likely the greatest 4-10 featherweight ever. That’s his pro record, not his height, folks.
He once said the California commission gave him a “no cut bout contract” and then explained that he was told if he did not trim his rock band singer locks they wouldn’t allow him to rumble, young man, rumble.
I’ve thought of the now deceased character on my recent SF sojourn to see Mercito “No Mercy” Getsa fight.
Which brings us back to Donaire, who I think is going to be a magnet for advertisements and endorsements.
Only 28, Donaire is a true Fil-Am, meaning born in the Philippines and mostly raised in Norcal.
The public dissension between his attractive wife, Rachel, and Mom and Pop Donaire is played out and the fighter handled the question about the father (his original trainer) friction when quizzed by Mad Max Kellerman in he ring after the dramatic knockout.
I’ve made it a practice to tell fighters I’ve worked with that they will make 90 percent plus of all they earn in the ring and very little from non-boxing endeavors.
For most fighters, it rings true.
But Donaire is a fresh face, a bright and thoughtful young man who a growing demographic audience can identify with as I relearned watching the fight on TV in a San Francisco suburb.
Boxing Truth’s John Chavez had me over to his friend Preston Wada’s home and the crowd included a crazy quilt of mixed ethnicities, Japanese-American, Fil-Ams, Chinese-Filipino Ams and so on.
He wasn’t present for the viewing but another Chavez pal, a North Beach cafe owner named Tarek, is Egyptian-American. As the “Egyptian Magician,” Tarek tried a boxing career but could not overcome having Chavez as his trainer.)
America, it used to be said, is a melting pot. For this generation, it’s more of a mixed salad.
I saw the same ethnic hodgepodge at a Daly City bowling alley, chock full of Fil-Ams but also populated by league teammates who were Mexican, Salvadoran and African American.
Properly handled, Donaire can be a new sporting hero for a New Age, for young people like the ones who I watched him dismantle Montiel with.
And, given how his latest victory has resonated back home with a senator issuing a proud proclamation in Manila and a victory lap/tour in the offing, the Donaires can milk both the Pinoy and USA markets for product endorsements and other lucrative sidelines.
Manny Pacquiao must be more careful now what he lends his name to commercially, given his Congressional status and possible aspirations for higher office in his homeland.
But not Donaire, he has no such limitations or restrictions.
If he keeps exploding in the ring and goes on dominating foes in an entertaining, Pacman-style way, the sky is really the limit.
I know one thing, when boxing ends, Donaire won’t be needing any donors.
I know another thing, Bobby “Goldilocks” Diamond was a real gem.