ECSTATIC doesn’t even begin to cover what I am feeling now that Nonito Donaire (41-6, 27 KOs) has once again become a world champion after stopping the previously undefeated Nordine Oubaali in four rounds last Sunday.
I had predicted a ninth round stoppage, but apparently, the “Filipino Flash” was in a hurry to get somewhere that night and ended matters abruptly.
We also went 2 for 2 in our predictions for the weekend’s championship double header as Devin Haney defeated Jorge Linares to retain his WBC lightweight belt.
DONAIRE. As expected, the 34-year-old Oubaali started out fast, coming forward behind active, busy hands.
Donaire took his time to figure out his opponent, moving backward and moving laterally while occasionally firing out some jabs and right hands.
Things heated up in the second round as Donaire started to stand his ground more and trade freely with Oubaali (17-1, 12 KOs). Both fighters landed good right hands, but Donaire was able to find a home for his vaunted left hook, catching the stocky Oubaali coming in on a few occasions.
Donaire really started walking down Oubaali in the third and with about a minute left, landed a left hook and a right hand that stunned Oubaali.
The latter retreated, but around the 46- second mark, Donaire was able to trap him along the ropes and scored a knockdown with a glancing left hook that didn’t even land with much torque.
Oubaali was up immediately and action resumed. Donaire stalked Oubaali and the latter unwisely started to initiate an exchange. Big mistake as the wily Donaire wisely timed him as he dropped his right hand and landed a big left hook that had Oubaali almost reeling along the ropes.
Instead of clinching to avoid further punishment, Oubaali demonstrated misplaced valor as he stood his ground to exchange with Donaire.
Another big mistake as “The Filipino Flash” caught him with another huge left hook which landed just as the bell sounded. Ruled as a legal punch, the referee administered the count on a badly hurt Oubaali.
He got up feebly at the count of eight and wobbled towards his corner like a fellow lawyer I know who had three martinis for lunch.
Perhaps his corner would have been wiser to prevent their man from answering the bell for the fourth, but they offered their ward up for further punishment.
Donaire had no choice but to oblige, and he finished the fight with a devastating uppercut with about 1:15 left. The ref abandoned his count as soon as he realized the sprawled Oubaali was in no position to continue and mercifully called for the denouement of the bout.
I am rapturous with joy that one of my favorite Pinoy fighters is a world champion once again and feels like a rejuvenated fighter. I think he needs to run it back with the “Monster” Naoya Inoue. With the proper training and strategy, I truly believe he can pull this one off.
VERBATIM. “I started to relearn what I had already forgotten and got excited all over....”—Nonito Donaire on YouTube
LAST ROUND. It’s on my baby Ate, Jenya Mary Louise Navarro Quijano, for moving up with flying As. Congrats my future doctor. Cheers!