The similarities between Nonito Donaire and Manny Pacquiao run deep.
They're both Filipino. They went to the same boxing school in General Santos City, South Cotabato. They're both premier fighters.
But Donaire just emulated Pacquiao on Saturday at the Madison Square Garden Theater, and that's a bad thing.
Donaire's boring, sluggish, drawn-out 12-round decision victory over Omar Narvaez on Saturday eerily resembled Pacquiao's win over Shane Mosley in May.
Said Donaire after the fight, via SI.com:
"The crowd didn't deserve this. I'm sorry it didn't come out the way we wanted. [Narvaez] didn't come to fight."
Neither did Donaire, and he knows it.
It was quite the departure from Donaire's second-round knockout of Fernando Montiel in February, when he drew rave reviews and solidified himself as one of the world's elite. The fight was uncharacteristic of Donaire, but sadly, it pointed to a theme for boxing, where bad main events are commonplace these days.
It seems that boxing fans have been reduced to going down the ladder, seeking one top fighter who will give them a fight worthy of the price of admission. Donaire was the latest disappointment.
According to CompuBox, via ESPN, Donaire landed just 99 of 666 punches (15 percent), while Narvaez landed 74 of 299 (25 percent). Donaire can say Narvaez turned defensive after the fourth round (which he did), but he knows better than anyone he should be able to break through that defense.
Pacquiao was supposed to knock out Mosley in May. Donaire was supposed to knock out Narvaez. Floyd Mayweather Jr. was supposed to knock out Victor Ortiz. Neither happened, and that makes three of the top five boxers in the world who have disappointed in the last five months.
Welcome to the deplorable state of boxing.