Nonito Donaire captured a featherweight world championship on Saturday night in Macau, China, taking the WBA 126-pound title from Simpiwe Vetyeka under all sorts of controversial circumstances.
"The Filipino Flash" was badly cut over his left eye in the first round, the result of a headbutt that seemed to be missed by notoriously terrible referee Luis Pabon, and struggled with the cut for the remainder of the four-round affair.
It didn't appear that the referee ruled the cut as the result of a headbutt, and Donaire, sensing the fight slipping away, was forced to fight with a sense of abandon over the next few rounds.
Donaire buzzed Vetyeka in Round 3 and probably should have been credited with a knockdown as the champion seemed to be held up by grasping onto the ropes. But the Filipino left no doubt in Round 4, dropping the now-former champion hard with a crushing left hook.
In an odd sequence, after buzzing his opponent again, Donaire seemed to call a timeout, getting the cut checked and allowing his opponent off the hook.
When the fighters returned to the corner after Round 4, Pabon, after consulting with the WBA supervisor at ringside, called a sudden halt to the bout, forcing a technical decision by three identical 49-46 scores in Donaire's favor.
Yes, somehow, five rounds were scored in a four-round bout.
The controversy of this fight isn't going away anytime soon, but the reality is that Donaire is once again a world champion.
Here we explore and rank the five best options for his next fight.