• Donaire’s sting


    peter_cariñoA new Cobra Energy Drink commercial featuring four-time world boxing champion Nonito Donaire is making the rounds of television.

    In the commercial, Donaire battles a robot in a steel-chained ring, and even if he gets staggered in the initial phase of the fight, he eventually bounces back and dismantles the robot. Although that is purely fictional (Donaire will be needing more than a sledge hammer to beat a real robot like that), the brand getting Donaire as a product endorser shows that the Filipino boxer’s stock is not on a downtrend despite his April loss to Cuban boxer Guillermo Rigondeaux.

    While Rigondeaux beat Donaire via unanimous decision in April 13 to win the World Boxing Organization and World Boxing Association super ban-tamweight titles, the Cuban did not leave a very good impression during the fight.

    I even discussed in a previous column that Rigondeaux won’t be getting fights from HBO because his style does not sell fights.

    Rigondeaux aside, Donaire still has a chance to regain his former standing as a top pound-for-pound fighter, and his style of seeking knockouts and even engaging his opponent at the expense of getting hit is not a hard-sell for promoters.

    But before Donaire starts training for next fight, he can improve in some areas: develop the jab; punch more in bunches; clinch.

    Develop the jab. While Donaire does have one of the most feared left hooks in the business, his jab leaves a lot to be desired. And given his speed and power in both hands, Donaire could make use of a good jab to pepper his opponents before landing his vaunted right hand.

    Punch more in bunches. When compared to Manny Pacquiao, Donaire is rather thrifty when throwing combinations, and this was very evident in the Ri-gondeaux fight. Although he admitted that he could not get his punching rhythm in the Rigondeaux fight, Donaire mostly threw one-twos and one-two-threes, while Pacquiao could throw as much as six to eight punches in a row.

    Clinch. One of the things I truly admire about Donaire is he hardly clinches his opponents, and prefers to press the action with punches. While this makes for exciting fights, it gives his opponent the chance to sneak in punches. Some boxers clinch their opponents once the distance comfortable for them to land a punch is breached, and this can be done occasionally but not excessively like what Rigondeaux did in his fight against Donaire.

    There is still this debate as to who is the better technical boxer, Donaire or Pacquiao?

    I must say that Donaire has the edge here, although Pacquiao is the more explosive and faster fighter. Pacquiao started off by relying more on his left cross (remember Pacquiao is a southpaw while Donaire is orthodox), while Donaire already had a respectable right cross to complement his deadly left hook. And in his fights in 2012, Donaire showed that his left and right uppercuts, which are difficult punches to connect, have knockdown power.

    So just imagine if Donaire will be able to connect in successive fashion a stiff jab, an explosive right cross, a powerful left jab, and then a right uppercut all with the sting of a Cobra…. that may be enough to put down even a heavyweight boxer. But not a robot.


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