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Donaire: I definitely won the fight

Nonito Donaire

By Chris Williams: Nonito Donaire (37-4, 24 KOs) was in denial about having lost his fight against challenger Jessie Magdaleno (24-0, 17 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision last Saurday night at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Donaire, 33, thought he had done enough to get the win. However, the three judges saw the fight differently in scoring it 116-112, 116-112 and 118-110 in favor of the tough Mexican challenger Magdaleno.

Donaire appeared to win rounds 4, 10, 11 and 12 on Boxing News 24’s scorecard. There was nothing wrong with Donaire’s punching power in the fight. He was punching as hard as he ever had. What was wrong with Donaire was the fact that he took too long to get his offense started.

Donaire was fighting flat-footed the entire fight, looking for one big punch at a time instead of matching the Mexican style of his opponent Magdaleno, who was coming forward looking to brawl with Donaire. There was no way that Donaire could beat Magdaleno looking for one shot at a time. That approach worked for Donaire when he was fighting smaller guys, who were overwhelmed by his size.

Magdaleno wasn’t one of those guys. Magdaleno, 5’4”, was smaller than the 5’5 ½” Donaire, but he had talent, heart, youth and hand speed going for him. Magdaleno came from an excellent amateur background. He wasn’t just some guy with an inflated ranking and zero talent like a lot of the fighters that Donaire had beaten during his career.

“I definitely won the fight,” said Donaire after the fight via ESPN. “I thought I got control in the second half of the fight. Losing never crossed my mind. This is unbelievable.”

Donaire did not win the fight on Chris William’s scorecard. I thought Magdaleno was the better fighter by far. Like I mentioned previously, I thought Donaire won the last three rounds of the fight in sweeping 10 through the 12th rounds. I also thought Donaire won the 4th round with his big right hands he landed in that round, but he failed to do anything in rounds 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Those were all Magdaleno rounds.

Donaire seemed to think he could chop Magdaleno down with one shot. That’s all he was doing was looking for one big punch against the Mexican American fighter, and that wasn’t going to be enough. Magdaleno had too good of a chin to be taken out by one punch by Donaire. The way to beat Magdaleno would have been to jump on him and throw combinations.

Donaire wasn’t willing to try and that approach. Donaire fell in love with his own power from his many mismatches during his career in which he was fighting smaller guys that couldn’t handle his power. Donaire never had to develop his game to beat a tough Mexican that could take his single shots like Magdaleno did last night. If Donaire had a Plan-B that involved combination punching, then he probably would have won the fight last night. I say probably, because Donaire would have still had to take Magdaleno’s return fire for him to beat him in a war. As we saw in the 9th round, Magdaleno was ready and willing to answer back when Donaire tried to jump on him.

Magdaleno hurt Donaire with a big left hand after he’d been by a hard combination from him. Magdaleno then backed Donaire up against the ropes and unloaded with a blizzard of shots until the round ended. Donaire looked like an old man by the end of the round, his face lumped up, eyes bruised, lips split.

You can argue that Donaire might be too old to change his fighting style from being a guy that loads up on single shots to a guy that throws combinations. Old dogs can learn new tricks, and I think that might be the case with Donaire. Should Donaire retire? I think it might be a good idea. If Donaire can’t learn new tricks to start fighting like normal super bantamweights in throwing combinations, then I think he should retire, because he’s going to be losing more fights in the future.

“It feels great to be a champion,” said Magdaleno said via ESPN.com after the fight. “I can’t believe this right now. I have worked so hard for this. I can’t believe I beat a fighter like Donaire. I don’t have words to describe it.”

It’s not that surprising that Donaire lost to Magdaleno. If you saw how horrible Donaire looked against Mexican fighter Cesar Juarez last December in beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision, it’s not surprising that Magdaleno was able to beat him.

Donaire won the fight by the scores 116-110, 116-110 and 117-109, but he took a lot of punishment from Juarez along the way. Donaire looked like an old man by the later rounds of the fight. He was well beaten around the face by Juarez. The only reason Donaire wasn’t knocked out in that fight was because Juarez didn’t have the punching power to get him out. Juarez still punished Donaire in that fight. Juarez was the only good fighter that Donaire had fought in the last two years since his 6th round knockout defeat to Nicholas Walters in 2014.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum can pull the levers to match Donaire and Magdaleno back together in a rematch if he wants to, as he promotes both guys. I don’t think it would be a good idea on Donaire’s part to fight Magdaleno again though. I think Magdaleno has got Donaire’s number, and will beat him again no matter how many times Arum matches the two together again. It would be bad news for Donaire’s boxing career to fight Magdaleno again. Arum needs to do what he did after Donaire lost to Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux in 2013 by keeping him far away from Magdanelo. Donaire has a lot of fans in the U.S. If Arum feels him to Magdaleno a second time, those fans might slowly trickle away if he gets whipped again.

Magdaleno out-landed Donaire in the fight in connecting on 154 of 500 punches for a 32 percent connect percentage, according to CompuBox. Donaire landed 132 of 404 shots for a 33 percent connect percentage.

Donaire can change trainers all he wants, but I don’t see that helping him improve to the point where he’ll do any better against Magdaleno the second time around. Donaire’s problem is he fights like he’s looking for a one punch knockout, and he’s flat footed. Donaire was missing a lot, especially with his left hook. He wasn’t landing that punch at all, because Magdaleno had studied him well. He wasn’t going to get hit with that punch.

All Donaire was doing last night was swinging wildly with either his right hand or left hook, and missing most of the time. It was easy for Magdaleno to avoid Donaire’s shots, because he was telegraphing everything. It wasn’t a technical approach from Donaire where he would setup his power shots by using his jab. It was just brute force from Donaire, and he looked terrible.

Donaire’s promoter Bob Arum needs to make a decision which direction he wants to take him. If he puts him back in with Magdaleno, I think Donaire will lose the fight and he’ll be done as a top level fighter. It might be better off for Arum to steer Donaire towards the IF or WBC titles. Donaire could win one of those belts and milk them for a while until someone good comes along and exposes his flawed fighting style the same way Magdaleno did last night.


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