Nonito Donaire has built a reputation as one of the most exciting boxers in the world. His career record is 27-1, with 10 of his last 12 wins coming via (T)KO. In his fight on Saturday night with Omar Narvaez, though, he put forth one of his worst performances.
Even though the fight failed to live up to the lofty standards that Donaire has built his entire career around, he scored an easy decision victory. In fact, it was a "perfect" score from all three judges, 120-108. The way that he did it has left a lot of fans and analysts feeling numb.
As Dan Rafael of ESPN.com wrote, this was probably the worst possible outcome that Donaire could have had in this fight, with the obvious exception of losing.
"Yes, Donaire won, but this was not the sort of star-making performance he or anyone on his team wanted to see as he prepares to move up to junior featherweight for his next fight—even if it was not his fault," Rafael wrote.
"'It was very frustrating,'" Donaire said. "'The fans didn't deserve this. My first time on the East Coast, Madison Square Garden. I apologize deeply for this. I wanted a knockout. It happens. He was definitely disappointing.'
"It was bad. So bad that, besides the booing from the crowd at various times throughout the fight, Donaire told trainer Robert Garcia while on the stool after the 11th round, 'I'm bored.'"
Donaire's popularity was growing in this country, thanks in large part to the way that he has performed in the ring. Of course, his close-knit relationship with Manny Pacquiao helped too.
As any fight fan knows, one bad fight can sully any fighter's reputation. Even though the reason the fight was a dud had nothing to do with Donaire, he is the one who will suffer as a result.
Narvaez fought like a man who did not want to be there. He was out of sorts from the time the first bell rang, and his performance over the course of 12 rounds left a lot to be desired.
Even though Donaire did not have the dynamite knockout against Narvaez that we have seen him have, he gave his all in a fight with someone who wanted nothing to do with him. But that does not matter. All that matters is his fight was bad and it will take time before the fans are back on his side.
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