MANILA, Philippines – Unbeaten American boxers Andre Ward and Timothy Bradley Jr. agree that Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire should have been more active in his title unification bout against Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba last Saturday in New York.
Ward, a friend of Donaire’s who watched the fight at ringside, told RingTV that he had expected a “very, very difficult fight” for “The Filipino Flash.”
“Rigondeaux is a great boxer, he’s a sharp-shooter, and this is the best I’ve ever seen him look,” Ward said. “Rigondeaux needed to be what he was tonight. He took shots that nobody thought he could take, and he responded.”
Bradley, who worked as an HBO commentator during the match, believes it took Donaire too long to start letting his hands go and truly attacking Rigondeaux.
“Nonito started letting his hands go toward the middle part of the fight,” Bradley observed in his fight breakdown on RingTV. “Probably at about round 7 or 8... He started putting some effective pressure on, and I thought he had become effective in doing that.”
“I thought Nonito out-landed him in that round, by a lot. I started thinking that he’s changing the tide of the fight a little bit. Now he’s found his rhythm. Now he’s landing shots. He was (just) looking for one shot,” he added.
But it didn’t last long, as Rigondeaux was once again able to take away Donaire’s weapons.
“Everytime (Donaire) would load up with that right, he would load up, and Rigondeaux is too smart for that. He would load up, and Rigondeaux would see it coming,” Bradley said.
Ward, meanwhile, is disappointed that Donaire did not utilize his jab more and instead went head-hunting.
“You can just tell, Nonito was looking for one big shot. I think that Nonito could have come in more behind his jab, even though he’s not hitting Rigondeaux with it. He should have just tried to touch him as a range-finder,” Ward said.
“When Nonito did that, he was much more successful,” he added. “If he had boxed Rigo a little bit more, then mixed up his shots, some hard, some soft, I think that Rigo may have run into one.”
CompuBox statistics were in favor of the Cuban, who threw 396 punches and landed 129 (33%), including 73 of 176 power punches (41%).
Donaire threw 352 punches and landed only 82 (23%) and landed only 64 of 214 power punches (30%).
Both Bradley and Ward commended Rigondeaux, with Bradley noting that the Cuban was “relaxed” and “poised.”
“It just seemed like Rigondeaux, having 400 amateur fights and coming out of the Olympics and all that, that this is nothing to him,” Bradley said. “It was just another fight for him.”
“You’ve got to take your hat off to Rigondeaux,” said Ward. “No sour grapes, man. The guy won tonight.”