Saturday, 13 April 2013

Nonito Donaire v Guillermo Rigondeaux

In arguably the first mainstream super fight of the year Guillermo Rigondeaux (12-0, 7) unified the WBO and WBA Super Bantamweight titles as he defeated Nonito Donaire (31-2, 20) via decision. Although the bout was billed as a super-fight it really was a huge let down with very little sustained action which saw a lot of booing in the second half of the bout.

The bout started very well with both men landing huge shots in the first 30 seconds though unfortunately that merely saw both men taste each others power and become even more respectful than they were going to be anyway as the bout became a chess match.

In a boxing contest things were always going to favour the better pure boxer and this was clearly Rigondeaux who used his feet to create a lot of distance and totally slow the pace of fight by effective but yet negative movement. It was this negativity that drew the boos though in all honesty Donaire was falling in to the trap of trying to outbox Rigondeaux, something that he was never going to be able to do.

When Donaire stopped following Rigondeaux he managed to have some success and this was most notable in round 10 when he managed to drop the Cuban with the best shot of the bout. This seemed as if Donaire was finally going to change the style of bout though unfortunately for the "Filipino Flash" Rigondeaux managed to survive the round.

Donaire, who had brought the pressure throughout the fight was hugely ineffective with his aggression and this showed notably in round 11 as Rigondeaux was allowed to re-assume control of the bout with his movement and jab. Donaire was starting to load up on every shot he was throwing and was merely making life easier than ever for the Cuban who had recovered fully from the knockdown.

In round 12 the bout flipped on it's head as Rigondeaux landed a massive shot to the face od Donaire which caused Donaire serious problems through out the rest of the round as he covered his eye and started to be the fighter on the back foot. Donaire continued to look for a single big counter but Rigondeaux was simply too well schooled and too fast for Donaire who ended the fight looking both dejected and like he'd be spending a fair bit of time with ice on his face if not needing surgery on his eye.

For Donaire this was his first loss in 12 years (since his second bout) though it was a loss that will sting a lot more than his first. This was a real disappointment for the man that many had as #3 or #4 pound-for-pound and a loss that will likely set Donaire back down the pecking order. For victor come the spoils and Rigondeaux will rightfully have time to reflect on his options to either defend his 2 current titles, to try and collect a 3rd or to move up and fight a top Featherweight.

Although Rigondeaux will be celebrating tonight I'd certainly expect him to be keeping an eye out for next weekend as Cristian Mijares takes on Victor Terrazas or the vacant WBC Super Bantamweight title, though IBF champion Jonathan Romero would also pose an interesting option for the the Cuban.

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