STORY OF PHILIPPINE BOXING PART LIII: NONITO DONAIRE, SECOND FILIPINO WORLD CHAMPION IN FOUR DIFFERENT WEIGHT DIVISIONS
By Maloney L. Samaco
Fri, 26 Jun 2020
On December 1, 2007, Donaire made the first successful defense of his IBF and IBO flyweight titles against Luis Maldonado of Mexico by a technical knockout in the 8th round at the Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut.
Maldonado had both eyes bloodied in the 7th round and Donaire landed a thundering left hand on his head followed by tough combinations which dropped the Mexican but was saved by the bell. The referee halted the fight at 1:16 of the 8th round, when Maldonado became a punching bag.
On November 2, 2008, Donaire successfully defended his IBF and IBO flyweight titles by a technical knockout of South African Moruti Mthalane at 1:31 of the 6th round. The fight was held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada.
Referee Joe Cortez stopped the fight after Donaire opened a nasty cut on the inside of Mthalane's left eyelid. Donaire controlled the fight since the opening round. Mthalane won nine straight fights before he was stopped for the second time in his career.
On April 19, 2009, Donaire stopped American Raul Martinez for the third defense of his IBF flyweight title at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Philippines. Donaire scored a TKO at 2:42 of the 4tn round.
Martinez suffered two hard knockdowns in the 1st round from the hands of Donaire. In the 2nd round Donaire floored Martinez again with a blistering left hook. In the 4th round Donaire landed a very impressive left hook that floored Martinez again for the fourth and final time for which the referee waived off the fight. After the match, Donaire was listed in The Ring pound for pound rankings in the No. 7 position.
Donaire moved up to super flyweight to fight Rafael Concepción of Panama for the interim WBA super flyweight title on August 15, 2009 at The Joint, Paradise, Nevada. Donaire won by unanimous decision 117-111, 115-113 and 116-112.
On February 13, 2010, Donaire fought Mexican Manuel "Chango" Vargas for the first defense of his interim WBA super flyweight title. The fight took place at the Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada. Donaire sent Vargas to the canvas at 1:40 in the 3rd round with a solid left uppercut for a knockout. Donaire landed 35 out of the 106 punches thrown while Vargas only connected 4 out of 45 punches.
Donaire fought his last bout in the super flyweight division against Mexico's Hernán Márquez. The fight was on July 10, 2010 at the Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Donaire won the match with a technical knockout in the 8th round.
In that round, Donaire threw accurate counter-punches and sent Marquez crashing down with a quick powerful left hook. Marquez laid flat on his back but was able beat the 10-count. But the referee stopped the fight seeing him unfit to continue.
On December 4, 2010, Donaire moved up to the next weight division and challenged the former WBA bantamweight champion Ukraine's Volodymyr Sydorenko for the vacant WBC Continental Americas bantamweight title at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
He pummelled Sydorenko all over the ring in the 1st round, and knocked him down with the bell saving him. Donaire also dominated the 2nd round, and sent Sydorenko down to the canvas again in the 3rd round. Sydorenko’s nose was bleeding and his face swollen. Nonito bombed him with a left hook and right hand to the body and Sydorenko took a knee in the 4th, and with blood flowing on his face, he did not get up as the referee saw it was enough.
The dream fight with Fernando Montiel, Mexico's three division world champion, happened on February 19, 2011, at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada. Both fighters were on The Ring pound-for-pound list, Donaire was No. 5, while Montiel was No. 7. At stake was the WBC and WBO unified bantamweight titles of Montiel.
Donaire controlled most of the first round, landing a devastating left hook that shook Montiel. In the 2nd round, Donaire landed some combinations, took a right to the head from Montiel, then quickly countered with a left to the head that knocked the champion down.
Montiel got up but Donaire swarmed him with a left and right flurry which prompted the referee Russell Mora to stop the fight 2:25 in the 2nd round. Donaire became the second Filipino and the third Asian to become a three-division world champion, next to Manny Pacquiao and Japan's Koki Kameda. Donaire was given a No. 3 position in The Ring's "pound for pound" rankings.
On October 22, 2011, Donaire made his New York debut at The Theater at Madison Square Garden New York City defeating the then undefeated two-division world champion, Omar "El Huracán" Narvaez. Donaire dominated the fight where all three judges were unanimous in scoring 120-108, giving all rounds to "The Filipino Flash."
On February 4, 2012, Donaire fought Puerto Rico's Wilfredo Vázquez Jr. at the Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas. After twelve rounds, Donaire had scores of 117–110 of both judges Levi Martinez and Don Trella. However, the third judge Dr Ruben M Garcia scored 115–112 in favor of Vázquez Jr. All three judges are Americans.
Donaire landed 60% of his power shots and won the vacant WBO world super bantamweight title. In the 9th round, Vasquez Jr. was knocked down for the first time in his professional career with a left uppercut followed by a hard left hand. Donaire became the second Filipino after Manny Pacquiao to win championships in four different divisions. Donnie Nietes and Japan's Kazuto Ioka followed later.
On July 7, 2012, Donaire battled Jeffrey Mathebula of South Africa at the Home Depot Centre in Carson, California. Donaire defeated Mathebula by unanimous decision, knocking him down with a hard left hook in the 4th round and breaking his jaw. Donaire unified his WBO super bantamweight title with Mathebula's IBF super bantamweight title. He battered Mathebula with hard shots for 12 rounds and was so dominating leading to the scorecards 117-110, 118-109 and 119-108.
On October 13, 2012 still at the Home Depot Centre in Carson, California, Donaire fought Japan's Toshiaki Nishioka who was ranked No. 1 super bantamweight by The Ring. Donaire relinquished his IBF super bantamweight title hours before the fight by refusing to engage in the IBF's mandatory weight check. Donaire dropped Nishioka in the 6th round, and another knockdown to finish him for a 9th round TKO.
On December 15, 2012 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, Donaire retained the WBO and The Ring super bantamweight titles against Jorge Arce of Mexico by knocking him out 2:59 in the 3rd round by a devastating left hook after dropping him twice in the round.
Donaire had dominated the fight since the opening bell and also knocking down Arce with a short right in the 2nd round. Arce was the second boxer from Mexico to win world titles in four weight divisions after Érik Morales.
Photo shows Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire (right) with the author.
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