Report by Abigail Henson (ringside)
Photos by Joe Henson, NYC (ringside)
Although the under card fights demonstrated less skill and finesse, the excitement they provided was incomparable to the long, drawn out 12 rounds of Nonito Donaire, 31-2, 20 KO’s vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux, 12-0, 8 KO’s. The last three fights prior to the headliner: Steve Gutierrez vs. Felix Verdejo, Rex Stanley vs. “Irish” Seanie Monaghan and Gadiel Andaluz vs. Toka Kahn Clary, all concluded within the first round; the first two by knockout and the latter by technical knockout. With heavy anticipation and expectations set by the previous fights, Donaire and Rigondeaux began their long bout, witnessed ringside by boxing legends Roy Jones, JR. and Tommy “Hitman” Hearns. The saying is that “style makes fights” and what promised to be, on paper, an explosive battle of powerful knockout artists ended up fizzling into a defensive display of boxing skill that lacked drama, but evidenced the awesome technique of Rigondeaux, a quick handed defense that neutralized Donaire’s power.
Nonito Donaire, the knockout champion and crowd favorite, could not get past Rigondeaux’s refined defensive skills and was therefore unable to stick more than a couple of punches throughout the entirety of the 12 rounds. The first round set the standard as they cautiously circled each other like two duelers with loaded guns, but neither were able to pull the trigger.
After 12 anticlimactic rounds, with a unanimous decision (116-111, 115-112 and 114-113), Guillermo Rigondeaux, 12- 0, 8 KO’s, took the WBO, WBA World Super Bantamweight Title against Nonito Donaire, 31-1, 20 KO’s. Donaire admitted to his faults by stating that he hadn’t studied Rigondeaux’s fights and just wanted to “take him out.” Donaire, however, did land one authoritative punch in the 10th round briefly knocking Rigondeaux down, but Rigondeaux jumped right back up unharmed.
Frustrations ran high from Donaire, as he wasn’t able to deliver in the way he had hoped. Each threw carefully thought out punches, but the defense from both was too honed to create any true contact. Donaire stated after the match, “In the last two rounds, I got stupid. I didn’t feel his power until the last rounds. I got carried away. I wanted to take him out so bad and I fell in love with that. I only have much respect for Rigondeaux for the beautiful boxing that he gave me. We just have to go back to the drawing board.” Rigondeaux then stated that he is ready to fight anyone who challenges him. Hopefully if these two rematch, the fight will live up to the hype.
Kahn-Clary Vs Andaluz
Donaire Vs Rigondeaux