Not Flashy But Effective: Donaire Wins Battle of the Juniors
By: Rich Mazon
San Antonio, Texas – Nonito Donaire Jr.’s left hand was a bloody mess after his 12 round championship fight against Puerto Rico’s Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. But that did not deter the boxer nicknamed “The Filipino Flash” in dominating a defensive minded Vazquez Jr. to win his 4th title in as many weight class.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
Donaire Jr. started fast and strong, jabbing and hooking an uptight Vazquez Jr. in the first quarter of the fight. He mixed that with hard body shots that landed and confused Vazquez Jr. The Filipino forced Vazquez Jr. in a corner and unleashed a flurry of shots that the Puerto Rican defended well. Vazquez Jr. stopped that rampage with a left hook that cleanly connected on the Filipino. He then started connecting with his jabs in the 4th as Donaire Jr. started fighting with his hands down. A beautiful right lands for him in the 5th and his jabs continue to find Donaire Jr.’s cheeks in that round. The son of a Puerto Rican boxing legend in the older Vazquez, continued to find his way towards Donaire Jr. with his jabs in the succeeding round. He also became the aggressor now for the first time in the fight as he chased Donaire Jr. with that jab as his front. A good right lands flushed in that round which Donaire Jr. took well.
Donaire decided it was time for him to reassert his presence in the fight at the start of the 7th round. He started fast with speedy combos that halted any of Vazquez Jr. ‘s plans of continuing his winning ways in the previous rounds. An uppercut lands for Donaire Jr. and a big right hook in the final minute of the round stunned Vazquez Jr. The General Santos City born Donaire Jr. then followed the previous round with another good one as he landed head and body shots on the native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico. He also mixed some showboating in that round, mocking his opponent with a monkey stance which the crowd did not appreciate.
Donaire Jr. came out for the 9th with a visibly reddened face complimentary of Vazquez Jr.’s effective jabbing and sneaky right hand straight. Both fighters then decided to engage heavily in the round. A combination from Vazquez Jr. pushes Donaire Jr. back but Donaire returned fire with a hard right counter. A left uppercut landed on Vazquez Jr.’s chin which stunned him, Donaire Jr. then followed that with a vicious left hook that floored Vazquez Jr. for the first time in the fight and his career as well. He beat the 8th count and finished the round as Donaire Jr. pounds on him.
Donaire Jr. continued his aggression in the 10th and 11th as his straights and hooks landed effectively for him. He circled Vazquez Jr. looking for a spot to land a punch that will floor his opponent again. The young Vazquez answered sporadically with a handful of punches but it was not enough to bother his opponent.Part of it was because he gets countered by Donaire Jr.’s left hooks. The best action of the night came in the final minute of the 12th as both fighters exchanged heavily in the final round. Donaire Jr. did not shy away from the action as Vazquez Jr. aggressively and desperately tried to put a last ditch effort in the fight. Both fighters remained on their feet after the heated exchange as the action was appreciated by the fans at the Alamo Dome.
Donaire Jr. wins in two of three of the judges cards with an identical score of 117-110. A questionable score of 115-112 for Vasquez Jr. from judge Ruben Garcia was not received well by fans and the media who are closely watching this fight. In the end, it did not matter as Donaire Jr. clearly won the fight against a very good defensive fighter in Vazquez Jr. The win gave Donaire Jr. his first title in the 122 division and his fourth tittle in four weight divisions of the sport. He verbalized in the post fight interview that he plans to stay in the 122 pound class which will give him plenty of opposition in the likes of Toshiaki Nishioka of Japan , Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux and Mexican great Jorge Arce.