• Donaire’s hypersonic left hook

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    Peter Cariño

    Peter Cariño

    As the Philippine media hyped the training camp of former pound-for-pound boxing king Manny Pacquiao at General Santos City, another Filipino boxer also put into high gear his own training for a fight on November 11, 2013.

    Nonito Donaire, who is coming off a decision loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux on April 13, 2013, will square off with once-feared knockout bully Vic Darchinyan whom he stopped viciously in the fifth round on July 7, 2007.

    While Pacquiao’s fight against Brandon Rios on November 24, 2013 at Macau is definitely more interesting given that his opponent is a young contender with knockout power, the fight of Donaire against Darchinyan actually presents some complications.

    Since Donaire won rather easily over Darchinyan in 2007, many fight fans will expect an easy win for the Filipino come November. Since stopping Darchinyan, the Filipino has racked up 13 wins and nine knockouts before losing to Rigondeaux.

    On the other hand, Darchinyan has figured in 17 more bouts and won 13. All four of his losses were by decision, including a close one (split decision) to once-undefeated Abner Mares on December 11, 2010.

    In his first fight with Darchinyan, Donaire was the massive underdog and the Armenian boxer even said that he would “kick the head off” of Donaire. But Donaire wasn’t only out to win – he wanted badly to avenge the technical decision loss of his older brother Glenn on October 7, 2006. While Glenn’s fight with Darchinyan was taken to the scorecards by round six due to a cut sustained by the Filipino, it was obvious that the Armenian was dominating the fight.

    Donaire then made quite easy work on Darchinyan and sealed a knockout win with his signature left hook. The Armenian got up before the count of 10 but stumbled toward the ropes before the referee halted the bout.

    While Darchinyan is coming off a fourth-round knockout win over an unheralded Javier Gallo on May 11, 2013, the Armenian is not expected to win over Donaire. But a decision win by Donaire over Darchinyan will do more harm than good to the Filipino’s reputation, as some boxing pundits might criticize the Filipino as not being the same feared fighter anymore.

    At this point, it makes me wonder as to why Donaire has never been called out by the other top guns at featherweight, including Johnny Gonzales and Mares. The answer could be that Donaire is still a feared fighter, because the observation of some boxing writers (including yours truly) that he is technically better than Pacquiao has never been debunked or widely debated.

    Mares could have easily called out for a fight with Donaire to redeem himself from that shameful first round loss to Gonzales last August 24, 2013. And Gonzales could improve his stock if he could register a win over Donaire.

    But Gonzales and Mares know very well that a fight with Donaire is suicidal, and the Donaire that Rigondeaux beat in April this year wasn’t the 100-percent “Filipino Flash.”

    If Gonzales, Mares and the rest of the top dogs at featherweight did not fear Donaire, then they would have emulated what future Hall-of-Famers Marco Antonio Barrera, Erick Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez did when Pacquiao was a rising star—immediately get into the ring with the Filipino to find out who is truly the best.

    Or is a fighter with a good hook more feared than a fighter with an excellent cross.

    Speaking of hooks, Gonzales’ left hook that sent Mares to the canvas even looked like a Soviet-era subsonic Scud missile that luckily found its target. On the other hand, Donaire’s left hook that felled Darchinyan and Fernando Montiel in the second round on February 19, 2011 looked like a hypersonic Brahmos missile that found its intended target. Just go ask Darchinyan . . . well, the Armenian won’t validate that at this point. . .

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