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News  


Late rally fails for Donaire


PhilBoxing.com




Nonito Donaire, Jr. staged a bold assault in the homestretch but failed to overcome Carl Frampton who held on to win the interim WBO featherweight crown via a unanimous 12-round decision at the jam-packed SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, last Saturday night (yesterday morning, Manila).

It was a masterful performance by Frampton who turned the tables on Donaire with a strategic adjustment in distance and space. After Donaire took the first round using heavy body shots to anchor an aggressive start, Frampton regrouped to exasperate the Filipino Flash with in-and-out tactics. Frampton used side-to-side movement to create angles for his shots then darted in to push Donaire along the ropes to take away his distance. He later credited chief cornerman Jaime Moore for the pivotal tweak.

The situation got uncomfortable for Donaire as early as in the second round when a vicious Frampton right hook left an ugly swelling under his left eye. Donaire, probably prompted by the damage, went for the kill impatiently and tried to land one big punch but Frampton wouldn’t allow a standing target. The advantage that Donaire had in the first round went out the window as Frampton took control of the ring with a brilliant display of boxing skills. Donaire pursued Frampton and looked to counter when the Irishman engaged but couldn’t connect consistently as he slowed down from the chase.

When pinned along the ropes, Donaire fought back furiously but couldn’t sustain the pace that Frampton set. In the sixth round, Frampton threw down Donaire and English referee Marcus McDonnell ruled a slip. Using his size, the Irishman fought a more physical fight. In the seventh, Donaire turned away from Frampton after a headbutt opened a cut over his right eye but McDonnell waved them on Donaire wobbled Frampton with a solid right during a fierce exchange near the end of the round.

Frampton continued to score with his left jab in the eighth round as Donaire appeared to struggle. The Irishman pushed forward in the ninth with Donaire looking tired and slow-footed. It was the same pattern in the 10th as Donaire, abandoning his jab, waited for an opening to crack a homerun. Frampton knew what Donaire had in mind and kept a safe distance away, moving laterally. Before the 11th, Donaire’s wife Rachel----who worked his corner with conditioning coach Mike Bazzel and former world champion Clarence (Bones) Adams----tried to encourage her husband with an expletive. It worked. Donaire, buoyed by a second wind, came out for the 11th bombing and a left hook clearly staggered Frampton who once again threw down the Filipino to stymie his attack. Donaire desperately went for the sleeper in the 12th but Frampton stayed out of striking distance. Then, with 20 seconds left, Frampton stood his ground and blasted Donaire with a flurry to close the bout in a flourish.

Frampton, 31, deserved the verdict, no doubt. Judges Steve Wade of England, Patrick Morley of Chicago and Zoltan Enyedi of Hungary turned in identical 117-111 scorecards, giving Donaire only three rounds.

After the fight, the 35-year-old Donaire went to social media and said he will move back to the superbantamweight division for his next fight, indicating he’s far from finished. He called Frampton an amazing fighter, smart and tough. His wife also took to social media to apologize for her language in the corner and to congratulate Frampton. “This experience, even though it sucks to lose, let’s be honest, it’s a telling story that we don’t belong in the featherweight division,” she said. “It’s better to realize now than getting hurt.”


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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