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Recap By The Round: Donaire-Rigondeaux

2013 hasn't been kind to our boxers, but Donaire's showing is still admirable
by Raul Maningat | Apr 15, 2013
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The heavily anticipated matchup between Nonito Donaire Jr. and Guillermo Rigondeaux is done, and as you may heard a hundred times on local broadcast, these super-bantam boxers played what was "a bruising game of chess"  in New York's famed Radio City Music Hall, Sunday afternoon, Philippine time.

Rigondeaux emerged with a unanimous decision after 12 hotly contested rounds. In front of 6,145 fans, the two champions, especially Rigondeaux, put on a technical display that would have made Floyd Mayweather Jr. nod in approval. The Cuban victor's showboating ways also made this official: he's now the second most hated boxer in the Philippines, next only to Mayweather.

We're not taking anything away from Guillermo though; he was simply quicker and sharper, giving Nonito all sorts of trouble. From the 1st round through to the 12th, Nonito operated on attack mode and Rigo kept things technical. The Filipino even managed to knock down his opponent once, but in the end, the judges favored the Cuban star's surgical work over Junjun's aggressive approach. It was a true display of boxing as sweet science in which both fighters deserve a round of applause--a loss for our flag, notwithstanding.

But if somehow you deem that the bout lacked drama, here's a closer look at the rounds to reveal the fight as it developed.

 Rounds 1-3: A Real Challenge

We never thought Rigo's southpaw stance would be as annoying as that gold covering his teeth. From the get-go, Nonito looked to be bothered by Rigo's ring positioning. The clearer blows came from Rigo; he even knocked Nonito off balance during an exchange at the beginning of the 1st.

Rigo had overall ring control in the first nine minutes. Given the discrepancy in ring experience among the two (this is only Rigo's 12th pro match), the expectation was for Donaire to dictate the terms of the fight early. And Donaire tried. He was stalking the shorter opponent constantly, but was never able to establish rhythm with Rigo's footwork and full ducking maneuvers.

At this point, we're now glued to our TV screens even more after finding out this amateur standout from Santiago de Cuba is no joke at all.

 Rounds 4 - 6: New Villain

Making no adjustments, Donaire fell behind on points even more in these rounds. Rigondeaux continued to out-slick his opposition, picking his shots while avoiding power punches. A crisp left hook finally found the head of Rigo in round 6 but the Cuban quickly retaliated with strong left of his own. Donaire was headhunting to no avail.

We're all hating on Rigondeaux at this point, and hoping against hope for Donaire to realign his gameplan against an opponent that at that point was making him miss like he had never before. The pressure had spiked after these middle rounds, with Donaire clearly running behind in the cards. "How am I going to hit this bastard?" Donaire might have thought. 

NEXT: Fighting back

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