DONAIRE SAVES DAY FOR RP

[PHOTO AT LEFT - Interim WBA superflyweight champion Nonito ‘Filipino Flash’ Donaire moves in to attack Mexico’s Hernan Marquez en route to an eighth round TKO win in San Juan, Puerto Rico.]

MANILA, JULY 12, 2010 (STAR)  By Joaquin Henson - Unable to goad big-name fighters into the ring, interim WBA superflyweight champion Nonito Donaire Jr. vented his frustrations on Mexico’s Hernan (Tyson) Marquez and scored a convincing eighth round stoppage to soften the impact of two Filipino losses on the same card at the Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot in Hato Rey, San Juan, Puerto Rico last Saturday night (yesterday morning, Manila time).

Donaire, 27, looked exceptionally sharp as he mowed down Marquez in devastating fashion. A southpaw, Marquez had never been knocked out before but Donaire walked all over him, dropping the Mexican in the fifth and sending him down once more in the eighth with a vicious left uppercut. Referee Roberto Ramirez waved it off at 2:59 of the eighth.

Switch-hitting to confuse Marquez, Donaire started out boxing southpaw and appeared to bewilder his opponent who is a natural left-hander. Then, Donaire turned orthodox starting the fifth round, confounding Marquez even more.

Shorter by about three inches, Marquez fought courageously and tried to work inside Donaire’s jab but was just not in the Filipino Flash’s class.

Before the bout, Donaire said it would be his last outing in the 115-pound division. The former IBF flyweight champion plans to invade the 118-pound ranks and hopes to challenge WBC bantamweight titleholder Fernando Montiel who stakes his crown against Panama’s Rafael Concepcion in Mexico this Saturday. Concepcion, who was outpointed by Donaire last year for the vacant interim WBA superflyweight belt, is a late replacement for Puerto Rico’s Eric Morel who backed out supposedly due to a training injury. AdTech Ad

Donaire’s manager Cameron Dunkin has been frantically trying to lure Montiel, Morel, Jorge Arce and Vic Darchinyan for a marquee duel but nobody is stepping up to the plate. Although he is not a holder of a “regular” world title, Donaire is ranked No. 4 in the Ring Magazine world pound-for-pound ladder.

Donaire raised his record to 24-1, with 16 KOs. Marquez, 21, has now lost back-to-back to Filipinos. Last March, he was decisioned by Richie Mepranum in Grapevine, Texas.

There was some concern about Donaire making the superflyweight limit but he proved critics wrong by scaling 114 1/2 pounds for the fight, showing remarkable discipline in the gym.

“I was very confident going in,” said Donaire who will be in Manila with his wife Rachel in a week. “I wanted some more rounds and knew I could figure him out right away. I took some beating but I think I needed that.”

Two other Filipinos on the card were not as fortunate.

Bernabe Concepcion of Virac, Catanduanes, engaged WBO featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez of Puerto Rico in a slugfest from the onset and paid a hefty price for his gamble. Both fighters were floored in a fiery first round then Lopez took control in the second, decking Concepcion twice before ending it at 2:37.

It was a test of strength as Concepcion and Lopez tried to overpower each other. Neither backed off and fireworks were on display right from the start. But Lopez’ arsenal was clearly superior as he improved his record to 29-0, with 26 KOs. It was the first knockout loss for Concepcion whose mark dipped to 28-4-1, with 15 KOs.

Lopez got off to a strong start, flooring Concepcion with a powerful left hook. Then, in a stunning recovery, Concepcion threw a left hook that dropped Lopez late in the first round. The Filipino was trapped in a corner under heavy fire when he landed a desperate counter to put Lopez down. But in the second, Concepcion had nothing left. Lopez floored Concepcion twice before referee Luis Pabon stepped in to halt the carnage. Concepcion hit his head on the padded ringpost in the final knockdown. He was distraught in the end but clearly in no position to continue, his rubbery legs betraying an unstable condition.

Working Concepcion’s corner were Buboy Fernandez, Nonoy Neri and Argentinian cutman Miguel Diaz – all from Manny Pacquiao’s camp.

Eden Sonsona of General Santos City seemed to be on the verge of victory after taking an early lead then ran out of steam, no thanks to a blistering body attack by Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Oquendo. Losing his composure, Sonsona was docked a point for a headbutt but Oquendo also lost a point for a low blow in a bizarre eighth round that closed with the Filipino crashing to the canvas along the ropes from a right straight.

In the ninth, Oquendo went in for the kill and used another right straight to drop Sonsona. This time, Sonsona stayed on the canvas and was counted out at the 1:05 mark. The win rewarded Oquendo with the North American Boxing Organization superbantamweight title.

Sonsona, 21, showed his vulnerability in the fight. Two years ago, he surrendered to Silence Mabuza in an IBO bantamweight title match in South Africa after suffering a knockdown in the eighth round – the first sign of a small heart. Against Oquendo, Sonsona didn’t bother beating the count, didn’t struggle to get back on his feet and gave up on the seat of his pants. His record fell to 21-6 with seven KOs. The defeat ended Sonsona’s streak of six straight wins.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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