By Derek Bonnett: Going into his 122-pound WBO title bout with Toshiaki Nishioka, Nonito Donaire carried a twenty-eight fight win-streak and a lofty pound for pound standing. However, since 2011 the three-division world champion, 29, had been heavily criticized his failure to stop Omar Andres Narvaez, Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., and Jeffrey Mathebula. Questionable scoring aside, Donaire clearly vanquished three legitimate world class foes. He handed Narvaez, a defensive wizard, his first professional loss and dropped Vazquez and Mathebula, both naturally larger career super bantamweights. There are some who had already found fault in the selection of Nishioka, a seasoned professional who vacated his WBC super bantamweight title after seven defenses against names like Jhonny Gonzalez, Rendall Munroe, and Rafael Marquez. The October 13 world championship bout at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, USA deserved more of a build-up instead of being treated as a side dish to the more fan-pleasing match-up between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado.
To some, it might have seemed as if Nishioka traveled from Japan to the USA and had his balls held up in customs. The same error in judgment was heaped upon Narvaez. What is more to the truth is that, yet again, Donaire completely shut down the offense of a seasoned professional at the top of his division and made it look easy.
Donaire’s impact on Nishioka was immediate as the intimidated former champion barely threw a punch in the opening frame. Donaire returned to stricter boxing and controlled the tempo of the contest without an overzealous hunt for the KO. Using speed and a well timed right hand off the jab, Donaire controlled the first four frames without an iota of resistance. He went up 40-36 on my SecondsOut card.
Donaire began utilizing his legs more in the fifth as he started darting in and out with greater frequency. His attack moved to the body with finishing touches to the dome of his counterpart. In the sixth round Donaire out-landed Nishioka 31 to 7 in power-shots. One of those shots, a perfectly placed left uppercut deposited Nishioka on the canvas for the fourth time of his career. Nishioka fell behind 53-60 on SecondsOut’s tally.
Donaire boxed with greater confidence than we have seen since moving up to 122-pounds. Although most of his criticism was unwarranted, the Donaire seen in Carson tonight was far superior to any version seen since he dispatched Fernando Montiel as a bantamweight. The gap in power-shots grew to 124 against 45 by the close of the eight round.
Donaire’s big finish came at 1:54 of round number nine after he connected with a straight right hand counter. Nishioka hit the canvas and rose on unsteady legs. Just as referee Raul Caiz Sr. waved the two combatants together, Nishioka’s team felt they had seen enough and surrendered. Donaire ran his win-streak to twenty-nine, not having lost since his second pro bout, and raised his ledger to 30-1 (19). Nishioka saw an eight year unbeaten streak snapped and fell to 39-5-3 (24).
Donaire honored his vanquished opponent respectfully. Upon being asked about a possible clash with Guillermo Rigondeaux by Max Kellerman, Donaire acknowledged it was a fight many wanted, but that Rigondeaux needed to further prove himself in order to get him motivated for that clash.
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