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Donaire Defeats Concepcion, Looks Awful

Nonito DonaireBy M. Perez: I got a big laugh when seeing Nonito Donaire (22-1, 14 KO’s) struggle to beat Panamanian Rafael Conception (13-4-1, 8 KO’s) by a 12-round decision on Saturday night at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada, a fight for the interim WBA super flyweight title. The final judges’ scores were 117-111, 115-113 and 116-112, all for Donaire.

In reality, the bout was really close and I would have no problem with it either scored a draw or a slight win for Donaire. At any rate, Donaire looked awful in moving up in weight to take on the tough Conception. Before the fight, there was talk by Donaire’s fans of him some day winning seven world titles in seven divisions.

Well, after seeing Donaire in a life and death match with the 13-4, Conception, I think Donaire’s legion of boxing fans are going to need to step back and getter a clearer picture of what Donaire is capable of. After the fight, Donaire was complaining about Conception weighing more than him, because the Panamanian had come in five pounds over the 115 pound super flyweight limit at the weigh-in on Friday.

Big deal. If Donaire is going to complain about five measly pounds, what will he say when he tries to move up to the super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight divisions? Those dudes – Chris John, Steve Luevano, Juan Manuel Marquez and Edwin Valero – will take Donaire’s head off. I like Donaire as a fighter, but he’s too tall slender to beat solid fighters above super flyweight in my estimation.

Donaire looked like a tall stork against Conception and was getting rattled all night by bone jarring right hands from Conception. Initially, Donaire came out slugging in the early rounds against Conception. I don’t know but maybe Donaire was drunk on his success against smaller fighters in the flyweight division like Vic Darchinyan, Luis Maldonado and Raul Martinez, each of which Donaire was able to dominate with his size and power.

But on Saturday night, Donaire found out the hard way what it’s like to fight a real super flyweight in the tough 27-year-old Conception and almost got decapitated by him. Donaire should have taken a clue that Conception was the real deal by watching his dispatch his countryman AJ Banal in a 10th round TKO last year. Conception is no joke.

Donaire gave Conception zero respect in the 1st round and hit him with some pretty big right hands. The punches had no effect on Conception of course, but it go the pro-Donaire crowd worked up into a good lather. Still looking cocky and drunk on his success in the 1st round, Donaire was immediately hammered by Conception in the 2nd round, getting hit with some monstrous right hands that wiped the smirk off Donaire’s face and sent him in full retreat.

From that point on, Donaire ran around the ring in wide circles like a chicken with his head cut off. Only rarely would Donaire open up with power shots from this point on, because when he would, Conception would light up with big right hands and send Donaire scurrying away. At the end of the 2nd, Donaire’s right cheekbone was swollen. Conception, for his part, suffered a big cut over his left eye.

In the 3rd and 4th rounds, Donaire circled constantly, mostly jabbing and avoiding Conception at all costs. Donaire got brave at the end of the 4th and ended up getting tagged with several huge shots by Conception as the round ended. Donaire stunk out the joint in the 5th, running around as if his life depended on it and avoiding exchanges with the powerful Conception.

In the 6th round, Conception battered Donaire with power shots for the entire round, although literally having to chase him on the run in order to land because of Donaire’s constant running. From rounds seven through ten, Donaire made the fight almost unwatchable with his movement.

Donaire wanted no part of Conception and was just running and jabbing. It was probably enough to win the rounds, but it wasn’t dominating or an impressive performance. This, after all, was a slugger that Donaire was facing and he was supposed to be dominating him, not running for his life.

In the 11th and 12th rounds, Conception was able to catch up to Donaire often enough to drill him with a high number of big punches to the head. It was made easier because of Donaire’s silly habit of fighting with his hands down by his waist in a poor man’s imitation of Roy Jones Jr.

I see Jones doing this, but he gets away with it because he’s so fast that he can lean away a split second before his opponent lands. Donaire was just getting hammered and looking ridiculous with his arms by his sides.

In the end, I saw the fight as either a draw or a close win for Donaire. But I hope he’s not kidding himself about the win. Donaire looked awful. He needs to give Conception a rematch pronto. Forget about moving up in weight to the bantamweight division. Donaire would get murdered by fighters like Joseph Agbeko, Fernando Montiel and Anselmo Moreno.

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