MANILA, Philippines – Nonito Donaire Jr. said he wants to rest, get well, enjoy fatherhood then return to the ring.
“I’ll come back and do better,” said the Filipino boxer who just lost his WBO super-bantamweight title to Guillermo Rigondeaux the other day in New York City..
Donaire was a 2-1 favorite to win against the two-time Olympic champion from Cuba but came unprepared for his opponent’s hit-and-run tactic.
“We fought the Cuban boxing way, hit and don’t get hit,” Rigondeaux’s trainer, Pedro Diaz, said in a report by the Associated Press.
Donaire floored Rigondeaux in the 10th round but didn’t really hurt him, and the latter went on to win the last two rounds to seal the unanimous victory.
One judge had it 116-111, another 115-112 and the third one 114-113 all for Rigondeaux, now the WBO and WBA champion in the 122 lb division.
The judges saw Rigondeaux as the clear winner. They were unanimous in giving the 32-year-old Cuban defector the first, third, sixth and 12th rounds. Continue reading
Early in his career, Juan Manuel Lopez had a lot going for himself, but the only two losses of his career have put up a huge question mark on his future. Before the first loss of his career he accumulated some major wins over very credible opponents. For his 22nd professional fight he went up against veteran fighter Daniel Ponce De Leon in a highly anticipated matchup in which he won via TKO in the first round. Many fighters at 22 fights are prospects or contenders and his 22nd fight made him a star. Ponce De Leon is not an easy opponent and Lopez’ victory over him was what he needed.
Lopez would continue fighting top ten opposition winning close decisions or by knockout. For his 31st fight he went up against veteran Mexican Orlando Salido. The fight was action packed with both fighters having bad intensions in their punches. Salido would go on to get the biggest victory of his career and present one of the biggest upsets of the year by 8th round KO derailing plans for a future bout with Cuban fighter Yuriorkis Gamboa. Continue reading
I once had the pleasure of witnessing unified super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux dance across the canvas to some of the most violent artists the world has ever known at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, CA. The southpaw Cuban legend known as “El Chacal” (The Jackal) was preparing for his fifth fight as a professional after an amateur career that boasted 2 gold medals among top honors at every world championship you can think of for a grand total of some 400 fights. The wins column varies from 374 to 388. The losses are always counted at 12 from what I understand. It was here under veteran trainer Freddie Roach, Rigo searched for his professional mojo briefly.
I wrote at the time, watching him work with various pros over a January morning in 2010:
Watching him in the gym on this particular day, I saw him work with three separate sparring partners; an unknown Armenian kid who was rough, tumble, and too slow to get to Rigondeaux, Gerry Penalosa, who couldn’t hit him with a bucket of water, and Bernabe Concepcion, who made Rigondeaux pick up the pace both with his feet and hands in the final rounds of the session. It’s like watching a scientist in the lab. Rigondeaux is a southpaw who understands how to make that work for him. Always shifting his feet side to side, back and forth, but never in a hurry. Relaxed and calm in what he calls “the Cuban style” of holding his lead hand down in an “L” around his waist, ala Floyd Mayweather Jr., while picking off shots with his rear hand. Nothing is rushed; each movement is used to keep his opponent off-balance and unsure, and all of it worked on this day. I got the sense he wasn’t toying with his opponents so much as tweaking and testing his own style to see what would work and what wouldn’t. Continue reading
A raging mismatch, the fight was not, in any way, close. Promoter Bob Arum, sour-graping like an old man a decade older than 81, must however be forgiven for readily shooting down the phenomenal Guillermo Rigondeaux as a boring, unsaleable warrior.
Of course, it was Arum who had initially warned that the world super-bantamweight unification fight between Rigondeaux and the highly favored Nonito Donaire could slip into a tasteless tactical war dance.
The fight was not, in any way, dull nor unexciting.
Arum, tested but seldom trusted, reluctantly gave the fight to Rigondeaux by a measly point.
Maybe he managed to keep his score close by telling himself (and the boxing public in the post-fight) that all Rigondeaux did was escape and run.
It was even harder to think if Arum had himself honestly believed what he was saying.
For example: How could a guy who allegedly kept running away inflict horrible damage on the face (not to mention the heart and confidence) of his celebrated foe?
Rigondeau never took a single step back.
The tough, gifted Cuban defector, visibly carved out of a rock, instead made a masterful display of tactical scientific boxing seldom seen in the United States. Continue reading