Donaire Wins WBA Featherweight Title
Nonito Donaire Jr. won defeated Simpiwe Vetyeka via 5th round technical decision after suffering a nasty cut over the left eye during the WBA featherweight title match on Saturday at the Venetian Resort in Macau, China.
Both fighters started slow with Nonito landing jabs and right straights at Vetyeka in a relatively cautious first round. After the bell sounded to end round 1, Vetyeka appeared to land a punch that sent Donaire kneeling in the canvass. When he stood up, he was bloodied near the left eye. After watching the replay, the referee ruled it as a cut from an accidental headbutt although it looked like that Vetyeka might have landed a rabbit punch after the bell too.
A couple more headbutts happened in round 2, which caused Donaire to complain to the referee. The fight continued to the third round with the crowd getting restless.
The Flash Fight Back
Sensing urgency, Donaire turned up the pace in the third round by throwing more combinations. Donaire started to unload his hammer fists and hurt the backtracking Vetyeka with a thunderous right hand. Vetyeka’s legs wobbled and he held on to the ropes at one point. Donaire kept pressing the action as the cut looked in check, but the South African champion managed to survive the initial Donaire onslaught.
As Nonito’s cut bled profusely in the fourth round, Vetyeka pinned Donaire to the ropes and began unloading shots which the Filipino flash was able to block and duck. A flash left hook sent Vetyeka flat on the floor as the crowd went wild. Vetyeka managed to beat the count, but Donaire rushed at him like a predator sensing the kill. He staggered Vetyeka with another left hook that nearly dropped Vetyeka again but this time the champion was able to hold on to Donaire. As the bell ended, Donaire had clearly turned the fight to his favor.
The match was beginning to transform into an exciting punching affair. The pro-filipino crowd was pumped up for the fifth round, sensing that their beloved icon could finish off Vetyeka in the ensuing round. But referee Luis Pabon decided to stop the bout and go to the scorecards. All three scorecards read 49-46, with the judges scoring the unfought fifth round 10-10, in favor of the challenger. The win gave Donaire his fifth world title in five weight classes but it wasn’t how he wanted to win it. “It does take away from the satisfaction” as Donaire would later say in the post fight press conference.
It was the third loss of Vetyeka’s career. His record dropped to 26-3 with 16 KO’s. Vetyeka won the title with a 6th round TKO win over the immortal Chris John last December. The South African started the bout steadily and was able to land his punches on Donaire, but aside from the headbutts, none of them put Donaire in trouble. On the other hand, Donaire ‘s class and power were too much. Donaire wasn’t really able to connect many punches on Vetyeka, but it was obvious that he was hurt in rounds three and four with Donaire’s elite punching power.
Bad Left Hook
Nonito Donaire Jr. has made a living with his left hook. It was foolish of Vetyeka to get careless in the 4th round trying to pin Donaire in the ropes without watching for the left hook. In Donaire’s last fight against Vic Darchinyan, he was visibly trailing the fight on points when he unloaded that left hook on his nemesis. Donaire’s favorite punch saved him from Darchinyan and a possible early retirement.
Donaire also ended Jorge Arce, Fernando Montiel and Nishioka with left hooks in 2012. Donaire was the 2012 BWAA Fighter of the Year after winning four fights agains world champions in 2012. But Donaire’s meteoric rise was halted by Cuban fox Guillermo Rigondeaux, who masterfully boxed out of Donaire’s left hook and easily beat Donaire with a unanimous decision in April 2013.
After the fight, Donaire admitted that the victory wasn’t complete. He immediately offered Vetyeka a rematch to get closure. His promoter Bob Arum agreed. Arum quickly pointed out that the Donaire vs Vetyeka rematch will be inserted in the Nov 23 fight card that will be headlined by Manny Pacquiao in Macau. Chinese superstar Zou Shimming will also be part of the card. Arum added that it will be the first time when the top two Filipino fighters will fight on the same card. If that happens, expect another action-packed event at the Venetian Resort in Macau, China.
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