Vetyeka now a stepping stone

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Peter Cariño

Conrad M. Cariño

I watched every round of the fight between Nonito Donaire and Simpiwe Vetyeka held the other weekend, and I have to give credit to The Filipino Flash for flashing his old form in the pivotal third and fourth rounds.

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While the shortened fight somewhat disappointed me, because I wanted Donaire to register a spectacular win over the South African, the results were very clear: Donaire was the superior fighter in the pivotal third and fourth rounds, and Vetyeka’s getting knocked down in t he fourth round punctuated that.

While Donaire did not get his groove in the first two rounds, I would rather chastise the sloppy officiating of the referee (his name is not worth remembering) because he failed to control Vetyeka from using his head during the fight, literally. Top Rank should make sure that referee should not be allowed to officiate the next fights of Donaire or even Manny Pacquiao.

The nasty cut on Donaire from Vetyeka’s headbutt was really a spoiler. If the cut wasn’t there, fans would have been treated to an exciting fight that would definitely see Donaire eventually stopping the South African.

Vetyeka hitting the deck in the fourth round also proved that he may not be able to handle Donaire’s money punch – the left hook. Later in the fourth round, it looked like Vetyeka was holding on to dear life.

Very few fight observers who published their thoughts on the Donaire-Vetyeka bout predicted the Filipino blowing away the South African. I actually took that “anti-thesis” view, saying in past two columns that Vetyeka won’t win against Donaire.

So what’s next for Donaire? A rematch with Veteyeka should be in order to prove that his technical decision win over the weekend was no fluke.

But a word of caution to Donaire and his camp: Ni–cholas Walters will be watching Donaire’s next fights to size up the Filipino for a possible bout.

In the supporting card over the weekend in Macau, Walters looked rather impressive against Vic Darchinyan, who was dropped thrice and stopped in the fifth round.

Walters is still a technically limited fighter, but his punching power, especially from his right, can be downright scary as evidenced in his fight against Darchinyan. Walters also holds a five-inch reach advantage over Donaire. The Jamaican has a 24-0 record with 20 knockouts.

But Donaire has a chance against Walters if the Filipino is able to deliver his left hook the old way: fast, deadly and without telegraphing it.

I also miss the left uppercut of Donaire, which can also be delivered deceptively like his left hook.

Strangely, Mexico’s Jhonny Gonzalez and Abner Mares are ranked ahead of Donaire in the latest Ring featherweight rankings, with the championship declared “vacant.” Mares deserves a lower ranking, having lost to Gonzalez on August 24, 2013 via first round knockout. Walters is ranked third overall ahead of Donaire who is at fourth place.

My advise to Donaire is to take on Gonzalez and Mares first before taking on Walters. Mares and Gonzales at this point are still marquee fighters in their own right who can boost Donaire’s standing. On the other hand, Walters taking on lower opposition will not give him the chance to sharpen his skills, even if he takes on Vetyeka.

Suddenly Vetyeka looks like a stepping stone. Meanwhile, Donaire has a big chance to boost his stock further.

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