It looked like Toshiaki Nishioka would be able to turn the tables against Nonito Donaire. The latter had dominated him throughout the match. During the 9th, the Japanese boxer had the Filipino Flash pinned to the ropes. Nishioka launched left and right hooks, forcing Donaire into a tight guard. The crowd which was booing them a while back now roared and cheered. Something was about to give, everyone felt.
And in a flash, something did. Donaire landed a right straight on the jaw of Nishioka that knocked him down for the second time in the match. Nishioka got up but was clearly out of it, prompting the referee to declare a stoppage. Donaire jumps into the upper left corner of the ring, and punches the air in celebration of yet another victory.
With his win over Nishioka, Donaire improves his record to 30-1-0, making this 19th knockout. Among those who congratulated him ringside was Top Rank Boxing promoter and big boss Bob Arum, who told everyone how happy and proud he was of what Donaire has achieved so far.
Probably the question in the mind of everyone especially Filipino boxing fans is this; is Nonito Donaire ready for bigger matches? Is he ready for a big payday, and should Bob Arum arrange for the Filipino Flash to have bigger stakes in his next fight? Should Donaire move up into the next division?
As a Filipino boxing fan myself, I would advise not yet.
Everyone must have noticed the lack of enthusiasm and excitement from the crowd for most of the match. While that may be attributed mostly with Nishioka, who clearly lacked any will to go on the offensive until the 6th round, still the blame goes to Donaire. He currently lacks the ability to work and electrify the crowd. If you want to go the elite level, you need to sell. That’s what promoters want, that’s what Bob Arum wants.
Sorry to say this, but that knock-out was just ok. Toshiaki Nishioka is not only older, Donaire was better than him clearly in all aspects. Yet Donaire didn’t seem to take advantage of any of it, opting to play safe in the early rounds. If not for the uppercut on Nishioka during the 6th which sent the Japanese staggering into the canvas, Donaire might have simply cruised to a unanimous decision.
That knockdown in the 6th forced Nishioka to up his tempo, benefitting Donaire who is a counter puncher. Nishioka goes on the offensive, making him susceptible to Donaire who likes to wait for openings. Recall several times during the match where the two simply stood and looked at each other, like pedestrians waiting for the bus. Even spectators from the far-off seats could see that, hence the boos and sneers.
Donaire’s present style is not only bad for boxing fans, but it also makes him not much of a fighter. He needs to work on lateral movements, he needs to use his feet not just his hands. He is athletic; he should learn to use the ring to his advantage. Yes, he has fast hands that’s why he’s called the Filipino Flash. But in boxing, hand speed is next to useless without movement. Because no matter how fast your punch is, if the opponent knows where it’s gonna come from, that’s not going to land a single point.
Donaire can still reinvent his game. When he learns to use the ring, when he learns to come from different directions, then he will be deadly. Then his flashiness will really shine, and he will be noticed by everyone. By the crowd, by promoters, and most certainly by his future opponents.
Until that happens, we will probably be hearing more boos for Nonito Donaire in his future fights.