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Prediction: Donaire will lose tonight against Nicholas Walters

Nonito DonaireBy Chris Williams: With three less than impressive performances in his last three fights, WBA Super World featherweight champion Nonito Donaire (33-2, 21 KOs) has a very real chance of losing tonight against unbeaten knockout artist Nicholas Walters (24-0, 20 KOs) in their co-feature bout on the “Mexican Style” fight card on HBO Championship Boxing from the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Donaire hasn’t lost a fight since last year when he was beaten by the tough Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux by a 12 round decision. Donaire was on his way to losing to Vic Darchinyan last November when Donaire scored a knockout in the 9th. Darchinyan was ahead on the scorecards 78-74 and 78-74 by two of the judges.

In Donaire’s last fight, he defeated Simpiwe Vetyeka by a 5th round technical decision. That was a fight where neither guy looked to be better than the other. Donaire said he was going to give Vetyeka a rematch, because he wasn’t happy about winning a world title in that fashion, but Donaire changed his mind about giving him a rematch.

There are a lot of boxing fans who feel that the 31-year-old Donaire has lost a few steps in the last two years. He’s not as fast on his feet as he previously was when he was knocking everyone out. At the same time, Donaire is facing easily one of the toughest opponents during his career. Rigondeaux obviously was the toughest opponent Donaire has faced thus far, but Walters isn’t far behind Rigondeaux in terms of the problems he’ll bring to the table tonight.

“You’ll see Donaire at his best,” Arum said to esnewsreporting. “The more exciting fight [on tonight’s ‘Mexican Style’ card] is Donaire-Walters. This is a pick ‘em fight. I think Nicholas Walters is a tremendous fighter with big punching power, but so does Donaire. I think this is going to be a real interesting shootout.”

It’s doubtful that Donaire will be at his best in this fight tonight. He left his best behind him in the rearview mirror at least 2-4 years ago, and now he’s just getting by with his punching power, which is still quite formidable. The power is still there for Donaire, but his mobility and hand speed aren’t what they were years ago from what I can see.
“I think [Guillermo] Rigondeaux surprised Donaire with his boxing skills,” Arum said. “Donaire was having problems going into that fight, personal problems, and didn’t give the best performance he could.”

Arum is possibly kidding himself if he thinks the only reason Donaire lost to Rigondeaux was due to him having personal problems. Rigondeaux would have done a job on Donaire no matter what phase of his career he was in. Donaire could have had zero problems going for him, and he still would have likely lost that fight. The difference in skills and talent between him and Rigondeaux was huge. That loss wasn’t because Donaire had personal problems. He just looked like he fought an A + fighter with better talent than him.

In Donaire’s previous fights, he’d been looking good beating B level fighters like an over the hill Jorge Arce, Jeffrey Mathebula, Toshiaki Nishioka, Wilfredo Vazquez Jr, and Fernando Montiel. But when Donaire got in with a much more talented fighter than those guys, he found himself out of his league. That’s why he lost that fight.


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