The coveted WBA Super Flyweight title belt was put on the line last Saturday evening in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where challenger Hernan Marquez (27-2-0 22KO) had his hometown crowd behind him in his efforts to oust the current flyweight king; Filipino-American fight phenom, Nonito Donaire (24-1-0 16KO).
Reviewing the fighters prior to the event, Donaire was on a 23 bout winning streak, with 15 of them coming by way of knock-out. The only fight Donaire ever dropped out of his 25 was his second one, against a much larger Rosendo Sanchez in 2001. It is because of his winning habits that he holds the fourth spot in Ring Magazine's pound-for-pound fighters list.
Marquez on the other hand, is known for his ability to throw effective power punches; this is clearly backed up by the 74.07 KO percentage figure in his record.
Despite the fact that Donaire was the one defending the title, the bout was pictured to be quite a challenge for him. According to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, one of the biggest factors working against Donaire coming into the fight was the atmosphere in the arena, which would likely be dominated by the people of Puerto Rico. He was reported saying that Puerto Rican boxing fans are the loudest and proudest when it comes to representing their fighters in the ring. And as expected, the fans did not let their image falter; the arena was filled with cheers of support for Marquez and the other Puerto Rican athletes present in the night's set of cards.
All their exitement was gradually extinguished as the judges did not even have a chance to send up their scorecards. The conclusion was reached as Donaire completed an eighth round rout of the challenger Marquez, giving him his second successful title defense.
The first bell clanged with Donaire sporting an unusual Southpaw stance; it was difficult for anyone to comprehend due to knowledge of him being listed as an Orthodox puncher - a method he has utilized for the entirety of his career. It was obvious that Marquez, along with everyone else, was initially surprised at the oddity Donaire was displaying. Another surprise was how Donaire actually seemed quite comfortable with this sudden change, and in turn took the round.
This strange yet effective technique carried on through the next three rounds. Donaire was utterly dominating the younger Marquez, who could not seem to find a way to penetrate the sudden Southpaw stance. Donaire's collective combinations could have been described as truly "textbook" - not only were they scoring options, but his shots were strong, quick, accurate, and most importantly effective. This was a guy who literally picked his punches and counter opportunities.
Things seemed to take a sudden twist in round five as Marquez caught Donaire with a bang, but Donaire had other things in mind than losing his swagger. Donaire responded with a quick counter punch and instantaneously shifted back to his natural Orthodox stance, letting loose on what looked to be perfectly thrown punches in bunches. Marquez looked to evade Donaire's explosion by traveling towards the ropes, where he was eventually toppled by the barrage Donaire applied.
Though Marquez met the referee's eight-count, it was transparently clear that he was indeed hurt. Following another fast exchange before ending the round, Marquez dived in to clinch Donaire's torso area resulting to him sliding back down on the canvas. The referee did not count this as a knock down, believing that it was more of a slip.
Entering the sixth round, Marquez took the entire break catching his breath and composure on his stool. Donaire did the opposite, standing up, and moving around his corner as if he couldn't wait to start the next round.
As the two headed back into action, all of Marquez's efforts in adjusting to the Southpawed Donaire went out the window. It was the perfect time to get his rhythm back, but Donaire proved too much for him, doing even better in his natural stance. Combination after combination connected in favor of Donaire, it looked like he could end the night right there, but he showed maturity and discipline by staying focused on the scoring option and waiting for the proper time.
The penultimate seventh round was reached with Marquez earning my pity, looking like a literal human punching bag. He tried everything, but his few body punches weren't going to cut it at all; every time he thought he had a good shot, Donaire would have already lateraled to the opposite side, and began another flurry of punishment.
Finally, the climactic eighth round took place, beginning with Marquez catching cumulative counter-punches in Donaire's favor. Marquez was helpless and the cheer that had previously littered the arena turned into jeers. With little effort being injected by the beaten down Marquez, the two rotated around one another until out of nowhere, Donaire sent Marquez crashing down hard with a sudden left hook.
Marquez lay on his back as Donaire headed to the neutral corner. Marquez beat the 10-count but the official deemed him unfit to go on.
Before heading back into his own corner, Donaire walked over to Marquez's corner to embrace and congratulate him for his effort, concluding one of the most educational fights I have ever seen.
This fight also holds special because it may very well be Donaire's final fight in this weight division. Donaire dons plans of moving up to the bantamweight division to further establish his career. Donaire may also move up the pound-for-pound rankings if welterweight contender Juan Manuel Marquez does not triumph against Juan Diaz on July 31 in Las Vegas.
This article was brought to you by: The Carlo Chronicles