As Manny Pacquiao ages into his mid-30s and shows greater and greater interest in his outside-the-ring activities, the boxing hype machine has already begun its search for "The Next Manny Pacquiao." It didn't take long for Nonito Donaire to become the consensus candidate for this designation, due in part to his success in the ring, but in larger part to his Filipino nationality.
After Donaire's most recent fight, the hype machine may start looking elsewhere.
Like Pacquiao before him, Donaire has been working his way up the weight classes, and after defeating bantamweight champion Fernando Montiel, announced that he would fight Omar Narvaez in Narvaez's first fight in the United States. Narvaez, a 36 year old former Olympian southpaw, is a respected boxer who came into the fight with an undefeated record and offered Donaire the chance to build his credibility in his first fight in New York City by dueling with a respected fighter.
According to the scorecards of all three judges, Donaire won every round in the 12 round fight. Though he connected solidly on very few punches, Donaire's victory was a result of an overly defensive fight by Narvaez that caused sporadic boos to reign down on the fighters from the New York fight fans. Narvaez's hands were in a perpetual block position from bell to bell, content to prevent Donaire from knocking him out, rather than attempting to win himself. His comments in his corner caught by cameras confirmed this attitude.
For his part, Donaire remained relatively aggressive throughout, but was unable to make any significant impact on Narvaez. This was due in large part to Narvaez never opening up enough to allow Donaire to land a punch, but also due to Donaire showing little creativity in forcing openings. Narvaez was content to allow Donaire to win the fight, and Donaire played it safe and went along with Narvaez's strategy. While this patience showed maturity, it does not bode well for future fights against boxers with defensive talent equal to Narvaez who aren't afraid to throw a few punches.
At the end of the 11th round, Donaire was heard telling his corner "I'm bored." He wasn't the only one.