It wasn't easy, but Guillermo Rigondeaux took a huge step in his quest to become a star with a win over Nonito Donaire by unanimous decision.
Rigondeaux came out on top according to all three scorecards; 114-113; 115-112 and 116-111 (h/t Wall Street Journal).
When it was announced that these two great champions were set to meet, the boxing community knew it could be a special matchup. It didn't disappoint.
Donaire came in as the slight favorite. Having won 30 consecutive fights, he was on the precipice of claiming a spot among the sport's top pound-for-pound fighters.
Instead, Rigondeaux established himself as a serious threat early on and used elite hand speed and footwork to consistently outpoint Donaire. Once he proved that these two were at least on equal footing, the action really started to pick up.
While Rigondeaux was able to frustrate Donaire with his ability to circle away from his power shots and land clean combinations, it was only a matter of time before Donaire landed something clean. It happened in the 10th round when Donaire sent his opponent to the canvas. It wouldn't be enough. The fight would settle right back into Rigondeaux's favor in the final two rounds.
As with any high-profile fight that goes to decision, this is one that fans are sure to debate for quite some time. Ultimately, Donaire didn't press the issue enough to earn the victory.
This was a close fight, but Rigondeaux has to be given the credit for fighting his fight and dictating the pace and distance throughout. Donaire had his moments, but this was a huge victory for Rigondeaux. Both fighters are impressive champions with quality records. Fans certainly wouldn't object to watching these two go at it at least one more time.