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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson

Donaire slams unfair judges

By Joaquin Henson
18 Nov 2016

Former WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire, Jr. said yesterday he was shocked when Jessie Magdaleno won on points in their recent 12-round title fight in Las Vegas and lashed out at certain judges for ruining the sport with bum decisions.

Donaire and his wife Rachel quietly slipped into Manila early last Monday to attend to a personal matter. They left last night to return to their Las Vegas home.

Although he said the loss to Magdaleno is behind him, Donaire was clearly upset at how the three judges scored the fight. The verdict was unanimous as Burt Clements and Steve Weisfeld scored it 116-112 while Adalaide Byrd saw it 118-110, all for Magdaleno. Byrd gave Magdaleno a sweep of the first nine rounds and awarded Donaire only the 10th and 12th.

Donaire’s wife Rachel pointed out that Manny Pacquiao lost to Floyd Mayweather on exactly the same scorecards last year as Clements and Glenn Feldman had it 116-112 and Dave Moretti, 118-110. Both Pacquiao and Donaire said they did enough to win but the judges saw it the other way. “It’s why some people think boxing is dying,” said Donaire who has captured world titles in five weight divisions. “It’s frustrating for the fighters and the fans when you know the other guy should’ve won. That’s why I enter a fight looking for a knockout. I don’t want the judges to decide the outcome. But even if you’re out there trying to score a knockout, it’s not easy to do because if your opponent doesn’t want to engage, you’re in for a long night.”

Donaire said Magdaleno insisted on visiting him in his dressing room after the fight. “I was getting stitched up and my security stopped him from entering the room,” said Donaire who turned 34 yesterday. “But Magdaleno was adamant to see me for some reason. So he went in and kept telling me how amazing I was, that I’m a great champion. He showed me a lot of respect and I appreciated it. I don’t know if he felt guilty or whatever. So I told him let’s do it again. I want a rematch. I gave him a chance to get my title. Now, I want the chance to regain it.”

Donaire said he had three small cuts in the corner of his right eye from butts. Plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Roth sewed up the wounds, taking about six stitches in all under and above the skin. “I bruise easy but I heal fast,” said Donaire. “My cheeks were puffy after the fight and I had those little cuts. But you should see Magdaleno. He had a deep cut over his left eye and they had to bring him to the hospital to fix it. You could tell we were in a war.”

Donaire said if he didn’t come forward, it would’ve been a boring fight. “I wanted to make a fight of it for the fans,” he said. “Magdaleno kept moving away. He’s not a one-punch knockout guy but he has decent speed. I think my advantage is power. I can knock out guys with one punch. I threw a lot of rights since he’s a southpaw. Because he kept moving back, I couldn’t hit solid. He’d pull his head back. I stopped a lefthander (Toshiaki) Nishioka with a right because he stood in front of me and mixed it up. If Magdaleno engaged, he would’ve gone down like Nishioka with my right. I think my right is just as strong as my left. I used my right a lot more because Magdaleno defended well against my left hook.”

Donaire admitted that in the ninth round, he took a step back after getting whacked in the ears. “I lost my equilibrium a bit,” he said. “I told myself to be patient, not to try to hit back right away, to go to the ropes and clear my head. I’d get back at him in the next round which is exactly what I did. I staggered him with a right straight early in the 10th but couldn’t finish him off. In the last round, I wobbled him at least twice. He went side-to-side to avoid me, showing good lateral movement. It looked like he was coasting but not because he was ahead on points but because he wanted to survive. If I had one more round, it would’ve been lights out.”

Donaire said there were several close stanzas but as challenger, Magdaleno had to take charge to win the 50-50 rounds. “He should've brought the fight to me but instead, I was the aggressor,” said Donaire. “I think I deserved to win those close rounds, not him.”

But Donaire said he could’ve done more to seal it. “I got overconfident with my power,” he said. “I wanted to take him out with one shot. I thought I could do it. I’m still adjusting to my new trainer (Cuban Ismael Salas). We had a Plan A and Plan B. Our basic strategy was to counter, to move inside. Magdaleno wouldn’t engage. I don’t know if he was afraid or if that was his battle plan.”

Donaire said he expects to be back in the gym next week. “Ismael and I will break down the video of the fight,” he said. “We’ll watch it together and learn from what happened. Off-hand, I know I should’ve jabbed a lot more, set up my power shots and thrown more combinations. My footwork wasn’t bad. I took the fight to him. If I didn’t come forward, there would’ve been no fight. In the early rounds, I was overthinking and had a slow start. But Magdaleno never dominated.”

Donaire said Salas was a picture of composure during the fight. “He’s like a Freddie Roach,” said Donaire. “He won’t confuse you with a million and one things in the corner. He’ll focus on one or two things that are critical. I’m excited to learn more from him. He’s an experienced coach with lots of top boxers under his watch. Joel Casamayor was just a kid when Ismael started training him in Cuba. Now, Ismael takes care of world champions Jorge Linares, Rances Barthelemy and Beibut Shumenov.”

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