In a masterful display of superior boxing artistry and savvy, Cuba’s Guillermo ‘Rigo’ Rigondeaux took a unanimous decision win over the Filipino sensation, Nonito ‘The Flash’ Donaire at the Radio City Music Hall in New York yesterday, April 13. Rigo worked his game plan to perfection, displaying his counterpunching skills, while occasionally sneaking successful offensive forays on the bigger Nonito.
Rigo showed poise in refusing to be lured into a barroom brawl, picking his spots and peppering a game Nonito with clean head shots as he danced away from trouble. This was evident right from the very first round. Donaire’s vaunted left hook was nowhere near the target, except for the 10th round, when Rigo got rocked by one and suffered a knockdown. Rigo knew how powerful that left hook was, and ensured it wouldn’t be used against him effectively. “He’s an excellent fighter, but one shot just can’t win a fight,” Rigo later quipped.
At times, the crowd would boo as Rigo backpedalled for the most part. But this was precisely Rigo’s gameplan, Rigo’s pace and rhythm. And he would not be derailed from executing it. Nonito tried vainly to cut the ring, but Rigo was an elusive panther against Nonito’s hunter. Waiting cautiously in the shadows, slipping away when attacked, and striking back when the hunter relaxed. In the end, the hunter’s face was bloodied; his hunting skills unmasked.
But all is not lost for the game Nonito. He is younger, and he has a good head on his shoulders. He must – and will – absorb valuable lessons from the older Rigo. Donaire must now learn not to be too dependent on his brain-damaging left hook. Against a stylish boxer like Rigo, he must learn to go for the body more often, and mix his left hooks with uppercuts. Time and time again, his hooks would swish through the air, as Rigo would simply duck his head ever so slightly to escape injury. Donaire must also learn to counter Rigo’s flash offensive forays, as this was what caused him trouble particularly in the last two rounds.
My salute to Rigo, the new WBO and still WBA super bantamweight champion, for an excellent boxing lesson. My hats off too to the game Nonito, who despite being seemingly distracted, fought a courageous fight. (For some reason, I could sense some kind of distraction in his eyes the moment he did his entrance.) Nothing to be ashamed of, man. You did your best. Now learn from that episode.