By: William Holmes
By the time the main event started, the ears of the fans in Radio City Music Hall were still recovering from the incredibly loud music the DJ played in between the undercard and the main event since most of the undercard fights resulted in early stoppages.
Photo: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
However, the wait and loud music was well worth it as Nonito Donaire (31-1) and Guillermo Rigondeaux (11-0) fought for the WBO & WBA Super Bantamweight Titles.
Radio City Music Hall was packed and every ticket was sold. The excitement and anticipation in the air grew thicker as the fight time came closer. When the DJ stopped playing his music and Top Rank’s promotional video came on the crowd went bonkers.
Guillermo Rigondeaux was the first fighter to walk into the ring and he used the stairs on the side of Radio City Music Hall instead of walking into the ring from the back like the other fighters did on the undercard.
Nonito Donaire was the second person to walk inside the ring and he had a large contingent of fans inside the hall. Many more Filipino’s were here than expected. The idea that Filipinos support Pacquiao but not Donaire was called into question tonight.
Rigondeaux was loudly booed during the introductions and Donaire was loudly cheered. It would be safe to say that Donaire fans outnumbered Rigondeaux fans by close to a 2:1 margin.
Rigondeaux was the smaller man inside the ring, but he showed off his impressive hand speed early on. He was able to land his straight left counter several times on Donaire. Donaire was able to land a few punches to the body of Rigondeaux in the early rounds, but it was Rigondeaux who landed more punches, though not many.
Donaire looks frustrated inside the ring as Rigondeaux was content on circling away and landing a jab or cross every now and then. He was able to land a few crisp counter straight left hands, but at times Rigondeaux looked like he refused to engage.
In the middle hands the crowd heavily booed the action, or lack of action inside the ring. Rigondeaux however won a majority of the middle rounds with his defensive countering.
The biggest excitement in the fight came in the 10th round when a short right hook by Donaire knocked Rigondeaux down and sent the crowd into a frenzy. Donaire however was unable to follow up and chased Rigondeaux around the ring again.
Rigondeaux finally went on the offensive in the last round and was able to land a few left uppercuts and straight left hands. At the sound of the last bell Donaire’s right eye was swollen shut. The finally scores were 114-113, 115-112, and 116-111 for Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Rigondeaux was able to defeat a top pound for pound fighter, but he did nothing to improve his marketability in a fight that was considered by many in attendance to be quite boring.