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Sat Apr 13, 2013, 09:30 PM

Boxing: April 13

April 13
At New York (HBO): Nonito Donaire vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux, 12 rounds, WBO/WBA junior featherweight title unification.

If you get a chance, tune in to tonight’s “big fight” on HBO at 11 pm/est. It features two of the most outstanding boxers of this era, and is definitely the best possible match that could be made in the lighter divisions.

Donaire is 30 years old; stands 5’ 5.5”; and has a 68” reach. He turned pro in 2001, and besides losing a decision in his second bout, has been unbeaten. He won the NABF super flyweight title in 2006, but remained largely unknown until he challenged tough Vic Darchinyan in July of ‘07. In an early title defense, Vic had brutally knocked out Donaire’s older brother, and few experts thought Nonito would fare any better. But he won the title with an devastating hook that left the champion unconscious; in an interview in the ring after the bout, Vic couldn’t grasp the fight had ended -- he wanted to keep going!

Donaire has had 13 wins since then, winning 9 by KO. He was the 2012 Fighter of the Year, having defended his title four times. In the first, however, he was held to winning a split-decision over challenger Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr.

His record is 31-1, with 20 knockouts. Donaire is widely recognized as one of the top five “pound-for-pound” champions today.

Rigondeaux is considered one of the greatest amateur stars in boxing history. The Cuban native won Olympic gold in 2000 and 2004, among numerous other titles. His exact record is disputed; however, he won between 250 and 400 bouts, while losing from 3 to 6. Teddy Atlas has called him the best amateur he ever saw, and Freddie Roach considers him the greatest Cuban fighter.

After coming to the USA, Rigondeaux won a world title in his seventh fight. He has had four defenses since then, winning 3 by KO. He is widely recognized as the best body-puncher in the sport today, winning several outstanding bouts with a single, well-placed punch.

The two are both best at counter-punching. Hence, in the early rounds, the fight may be similar to the 11-30-79 fight between welterweight champion Wilfred Benitez and challenger Ray Leonard: both men were cautious, waiting to see who made the first error.

The difference tonight is that both men have “one-punch knockout power.” And while it took Ray 15 rounds to catch up to Benitez (who had only trained for a few days, because he viewed Leonard as an inferior talent), both men will eventually initiate exchanges. It is likely that the first man to make a mistake will be the first one hurt, and possibly knocked out. However, once either is hurt, the other has to be very careful not to run into a counter-punch that ends the fight.

What could be better? This is the type of fight I love!

Enjoy the bout!

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Reply Boxing: April 13 (Original post)
H2O Man Apr 2013 OP
fishwax Apr 2013 #1
H2O Man Apr 2013 #2

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 12:29 PM

1. A rather disapointing fight, though Rigondeaux was every bit as good as advertised

I was looking forward to this fight, because I like seeing that style of fight. The first four rounds or so I found to be very entertaining--I thought Donaire was patiently moving Rigondeaux around the ring, waiting for an opportunity, and Rigondeaux was doing a good job of anticipating, avoiding, and getting his shots in.

Then Donaire made a bit of a move and landed a hard punch near the end of round four. But Rigondeaux came back with a nice little flurry to end the round. And I think that confused Donaire, because he never looked quite the same after that. I don't know--maybe he bought into the idea that he could end it with one punch off one mistake, and got flustered when Rigondeaux came back strong. Wherein the first four rounds he looked like he was moving Rigondeaux around and actively look for an opportunity, after that he started to follow a bit and seemed very reactive. In most of the later rounds he just looked slow and confused while Rigondeaux danced around him.

The tenth was an exception, of course. But, again, when he couldn't stop Rigondeaux he didn't have anything else to offer. I thought the fight was closer than the announcers did, but I didn't think it was as close as the judges did. The 116-111 I could see. The 114-113 ... I couldn't stretch enough to find five rounds to give Donaire.

So what did you think of the fight?

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Response to fishwax (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 08:26 PM

2. I loved it.

It's interesting to read the espn and yahoo reports -- probably a good thing that Willie Pep isn't fighting in this era, or these "experts" would say the same things about him.

Don't get me wrong: I loved the Bradley fight, and the Rios fight. There have been some outstanding toe-to-toe wars this year. But I like the "hit-and-don't-get-hit" approach, too. After about three or four rounds, Donaire was hesitant to fire any shots. He was afraid of being countered with hard punches by an opponent with far greater speed of hand and foot.

Before the bout, I pointed out something tomy son ..... during the "stare-down" at the weigh-in, Rigondeaux focused his eyes straight ahead. Donaire attempted to engage in an eye-to-eye contest, first bending over slightly, then making hand gestures towards his own eyes. Rigondeaux didn't move at all.

In my opinion, Rigondeaux had completely depersonalized his opponent; Donaire was a "thing" to be defeated. Donaire had personalized the contest, and behaved uncomfortably by his foe's refusal to engage. That same mindset held throughout the 12 rounds for each man.

I really like Donaire, and am confident he will be back in the fall, competing at a higher weight. And I really like Rigondeaux's ability to be cold and calculating in the ring.

I didn't see the fight as close on a scorecard (unlike some judges did).

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