Nonito Donaire clowns Vazquez Jr, wins split decision after dropping Wilfredo in round nine

5 Feb

Robert Delgado – Los Angeles

Nonito Donaire became a three weight world champion on Saturday, February 4 as he convincingly decisioned Wilfredo Vazquez Jr at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas in order to become the latest WBO super bantamweight world title. This, after winning full world championships in both the bantamweight and flyweight divisions. Donaire dropped Vazquez Jr in the ninth but was unable to finish the fight early, perhaps because of an injured left hand…

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Delgado’s scorecard

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
10 10 10 10 10 9 10 10 10 9
10 9
Vazquez Jr
9 9 9
9 9 10 9 9 8 10 9 10

Official verdict: Donaire by way of split decision (117-110, 17-110, 112-115).

The super bantamweight attraction in Texas had it all… a simmering national rivalry with two patriotic fighters, a pre-fight Twitter warfare, two boxers with a high ring IQ and both are known for packing a punch. Oh, and there’s a world title at stake, albeit a vacant one; the WBO championship belt at 122lbs.

Showing good speed, of both foot and hand, Donaire moved in an anti-clockwise fashion around Vazquez Jr, jabbing, double-jabbing before setting up a sweeping uppercut. The Puerto Rican, in contrast, was tentative, feeling out Donaire’s power and strength, as he absorbed punches on his forearms and gloves due to his tight, upright guard.

Kidology erupted in round two when Donaire swung a one-two combination at Vazquez with the first landing and the second connecting with the latter’s elbows. Vazquez then raised his arms, goading Donaire onto him who obliged the invitation with heavy fists, however, he clattered into Vazquez Jr and tumbled to the floor, annoyed at himself and Wilfredo for the accidental slip. The mind games continued between rounds as neither fighter sat on their stool and instead, remained standing as if to say they were unharmed and comfortable with the pace and power the bout was fought at. Their faces, though, said different as both boxers bore slight swellings under their eyes… Donaire’s being the more apparent.

In an edge-of-the-seat stanza, Donaire shimmied his shoulders, showboating, kidding around and clowning Vazquez Jr, who walked away from the attempt to ruffle the feathers. Moments later, the Puerto Rican was pinned against a neutral turnbuckle and was forced to take huge power shots as Donaire unloaded with left hooks, big straight punches with the right and even bigger uppercuts with the left. Vazquez Jr weathered the storm, appeared unfazed having blocked or avoided most of the shots and managed to veer away from the danger zone.

Donaire backpeddled in the fourth before halting his dance to pop the jab out. The Filipino Flash was able to inspire great reactions from the crowds because of his eye-catching combinations, yet far too many of these blows looked good from afar but far from good close up as they were cushioned by Vazquez Jr’s guard. Despite the inaccuracy, Donaire was truly ahead as he was the one forcing the fight with both his come-forward nature and his fist-throwing. At the round’s end, Donaire hurt Vazquez Jr with a left hook mere seconds from the bell, causing Wilfredo to then square up to his man before both exchanged choice words.

Donaire boxed with a non-existent guard. He kept a right glove high to catch any pawing jabs from Vazquez Jr, but his left glove was hung low where he fired a jab away from eye-level. Even when the fifth round was concluding, Vazquez Jr – aside from one right hand over the top – had still to land a combination or move that would impress judges at ringside… he was too tentative, too economic in attack and too willing to relinquish all the advantages to Donaire.

Vazquez Jr was more assertive in the sixth round. He was happier to throw the jab, landing often while Donaire switched styles from orthodox to southpaw to back again as he attempted to regain the momentum. The swelling around Donaire’s eye – that had been receiving the enswell treatment between rounds – was getting angrier and more noticeable.

In the seventh round, the fighters tucked their heads in and boxed on the inside with Donaire coming out on top due to his hook punches around the sides of Vazquez Jr’s mid-level shield. With the round set to finish, Donaire wobbled Vazquez Jr with a tough left hook.

Wilfredo connected with short-range hooks and straight shots at the beginning of the eighth round. Midway through the round, Donaire landed a right cross and a tortuous left to the midsection that made Vazquez Jr shake his head. Like he had done throughout the fight, Donaire began fooling around in front of Vazquez Jr, putting his gloves on his knees and bouncing up and down… when Vazquez Jr feinted forward as he readied to throw a shot, Donaire beat him to the punch.

The fight’s first knockdown occurred in the ninth round as Junior was flattened in a flash by an uppercut-left hook combo. Vazquez was up off the canvas in no time, smiled at his corner to say he was not hurt and, when returning to the blue side of the ring after round said simply: “he caught me, I’m fine.”

Donaire treble-jabbed in the tenth but, into the second minute, was forced onto the ropes where Vazquez Jr boxed through an earmuff guard and was superior in an exchange before Donaire darted away. Vazquez gained good success targeting Donaire’s head but when he threw his straight right punch, Donaire countered with his trademark left hook.

In round 11, Donaire ducked, slipped and danced around the ring, popped off his jab and out-landed Vazquez Jr by a 2:1 ratio playing matador to Wilfredo’s bull. In the final round, the dancing continued… he was sprightly on his feet, treble-jabbed and toyed with his opponent, dug shots into Vazquez Jr’s left side but reports from ringside suggested that Donaire had damaged his left hand and thus compromised any potential last gasp tactic to gain a Hollywood finish. The last round was tight, but a late attacking burst from Vazquez Jr stole the 12th, but not the fight.

Donaire gained a deserved victory but the result should have been unanimous, rather than split. Many areas of Donaire’s game were highlighted against Vazquez Jr. Against Omar Narvaez, Nonito complained of boredom, but against Wilfredo, he showed attacking guile, knockdown power, a variety of punches and limited Vazquez Jr to a 30 percent connection rate.

With victory, he rose to 28-1-0, 18ko, while Vazquez Jr suffered his second successive defeat and dropped to 21-2-1, 18ko.

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2 Responses to “Nonito Donaire clowns Vazquez Jr, wins split decision after dropping Wilfredo in round nine”


  1. Fight Photo: Nonito Donaire’s injury; the marked and cut-up left hand « On The Beak - February 5, 2012

    […] Nonito Donaire clowns Vazquez Jr, wins split decision after dropping Wilfredo in round nine […]

  2. News: Jan – June « On The Beak - November 18, 2012

    […] Nonito Donaire clowns Vazquez Jr, wins split decision after dropping Wilfredo in round nine […]

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