COMMENTARY | Perhaps "Filipino Flash" Nonito Donaire fell in love with his own power and the end result was a unanimous decision loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux. Maybe it was that simple.
More correctly, though, the 30-year-old former WBO junior featherweight champ likely fell in love with his own hard-peddled awesomeness, attained via two years of hardcore salesmanship by promoter Bob Arum.
Simply put, Arum wanted the next Manny Pacquiao and Donaire was going to be shoved down the public's throat as the next big thing whether the public liked it or not and whether the comparisons had merit or not.
When pushed so hard and so often, it's difficult to not start buying into your own hype. In two years' time, the change was apparent. The Filipino-American fighter had made the transformation from a mega-talented kid plugging along, making a name for himself into a sunglasses-wearing caricature who talked big, but increasingly performed as though he cared less about boxing and more about creating nifty moments for his highlight reel video.
So, Donaire walked into the toughest fight of his career last Saturday, April 12, deeply involved in a passionate love affair with his own press clippings, and got deeply and thoroughly schooled by Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Losing so easily, so completely should've been a humbling experience for the former three-division world champ, but it doesn't seem to have even caused a minor dent in Donaire's growing ego. As a matter of fact, the fighter who easily lost at least nine or ten rounds in the twelve-round contest actually feels that he won. For Donaire, it appears to not be a question of whether he won or lost. Rather, he seems to feel that he should've won more convincingly.
"I wanted to pressure him, but the problem is I didn't [step on the] pedal in the last two rounds, Donaire told Boxingscene.com. "I thought I did enough to win this fight. But again, the decision was from the judges. At least it should have been a draw. If nobody had to win that fight it should have been a draw, but if somebody had to win that fight it should have been me because I made that fight happen. I don't want to be a sore loser because he was an excellent fighter, but he didn't want to engage. That was the problem, he didn't want to engage…I thought I could catch him with one punch and fell in love with that. I thought I could catch him but that was....it is what it is. You just have to go back to the drawing board."
Of course, though, the excuses for not performing as well as he wanted were plentiful.
"There is a lot of pressure, not just with the baby (Donaire and his wife, Rachel, are expecting their first child this summer), but -- and I'm not taking anything away from Rigondeaux -- I needed surgery on my shoulder," Donaire told Mercury News.com.
So, Donaire looked like a lummox against Rigondeaux at Radio City Music Hall because of a bum shoulder and a baby on the way. Bob Arum would later toss in a difficulty in making weight as yet another reason the Filipino Flash looked more like something that should be Filipino Flushed down the toilet.
To be fair, Donaire's eyesight might've been impaired throughout the fight due to Rigondeaux's fists landing flush repeatedly on his face. And maybe he could never come close to solving the Cuban's defensive riddle because the DJ's music was playing too loud between rounds, keeping him distracted and ring-dumb.
But seriously, Donaire just got taken to school by a much better boxer. Maybe the old Nonito Donaire, who hadn't yet begun to believe his billing as a near-deity, would've done better last Saturday night. Probably not.
When his wife has the baby and he has the shoulder surgery, expect nothing to change with Donaire or the way Bob Arum is selling him. Just expect a lot more careful matchmaking.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Sources: Boxingscene, Mercury News
- Sports & Recreation
- Nonito Donaire
- Guillermo Rigondeaux
- Bob Arum