Words: Tommy Barber – London
Photos: Chris Farina – Top Rank
It may not have satisfied the blood-thirst of fight fans still enjoying highlights of the two frontrunning candidates for fight of the year – Mike Alvarado vs Brandon Rios II and Timothy Bradley vs Ruslan Provodnikov – but Guillermo Rigondeaux‘s ability to outpoint Nonito Donaire last Saturday, April 13 provided a fine demonstration of the sweet science in action. Below, are the three photos that sum up the night’s work for the finely-skilled Cuban wizard.
Donaire had the fanbase, the punching power, the stature in the game to attract accolades naming him the heir to the throne vacated by countryman Manny Pacquiao but all that mattered not against Rigondeaux who used a combination of timing, maneuverability, ring smarts and defensive nous to frustrate and perplex one of the most heavily-promoted Top Rank-backed boxers.
According to punch stats released by HBO during their broadcast, Rigondeaux threw 396 shots and found success 33 percent of the time to land 129 times. All these statistics are greater than Nonito’s numbers who threw 352, landed 82 times to create a 23 percent success rate.
Compubox stats reveal a similar pattern and point to Rigondeaux being the far more effective fighter. Guillermo outlanded Donaire in an astonishing 11 rounds, with only the 10th round – where Rigondeaux suffered a knockdown – being the one Donaire was most successful in.
Donaire refused to accept defeat post-fight and between himself and promoter Bob Arum, a move north, to the 126lb division, looks likely. The excuses, though, perhaps discredit what is and should always be, a tactically astute victory for an athlete who made just his 12th appearance in the professional circuit. Rigondeaux linked up with his former amateur coach Pedro Diaz for his night in New York and the two, pictured below, stuck to a winning game-plan throughout the contest.
On The Beak – Admin
Recently crowned WBO super bantamweight world champion Nonito Donaire produced an impressive performance on Saturday, February 4 against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, proving that, despite traversing through the weight classes he is still able to retain one of his greatest pugilistic assets – his speed.
Donaire did score a flash droppage in round nine courtesy of an uppercut/left hook combination but his overall knock-out power may have been inhibited by a left hand that was shredded around the knuckles. The lacerations were so severe, that when he had his gloves taken off after the 12 rounder, his hand-wraps were caked in claret…
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Famed Mexican-American trainer Robert Garcia, who owns a flourishing boxing academy in Oxnard, California, has heralded a fighter from his stable as boxing’s next superstar. Two-weight world champion Nonito Donaire can be “my next Joe Frazier, or my next Muhammad Ali,” a kindled Garcia stated this week. Donaire is on the cusp of transcending his popularity due to a highlight-reel knockout win over a previously unstoppable Fernando Montiel last year.
A ferocious puncher in the lower-weight classes, Donaire (27-1-0, 18ko) has two stoppage victories that are regarded to be the best of the years they were triumphed in. In 2007, against teak tough Armenian, Vic Darchinyan, Donaire did the unthinkable and forced a fifth round technical knockout win over a fighter who still, to this day, has gone the distance with every other fighter he has been in the ring with. Four years later, Donaire repeated the feat against Fernando Montiel, crashing the resilient Mexican onto the canvas inside two rounds.
This brace of knockout wins punctuates other solid wins over Luis Maldonando, Moruthi Mthalane, Hernan Marquez and Vladimir Sidorenko, however, Garcia believes that the 29-year-old, who has won full world championships at flyweight and bantamweight, has “unlimited potential”.
Speaking to The Ring, he continued: “Nonito is very strong and talented. He’s so fast, so powerful when he gets into the ring that he could be my next Joe Frazier, or my next Muhammad Ali but that’s only something that we’ll see in the next few years.
“Nonito has had a great year this past year, but it’s only the beginning. No one knows what he can bring yet. Nonito’s got dreams. So there is nothing that can stop him. Nonito has all of the talent and the potential to be among the greatest. That would be something great for my career as a trainer. There is no telling what honour he can bring to himself and to me, as well.”
Donaire, though, fought just twice in 2011 and his most recent performance, a decision win over Omar Narvaez, was underwhelming, largely because of the stringent door-bolt defence employed by the Argentinean. The Filipino Flash wants to box at least four times in 2012 and already has his next bout booked, against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr, a Puerto Rican prizefighter who formerly championed the WBO super bantamweight title.
The WBO belt at 122lbs is now vacant and will be awarded to the winner of February 4 fight, staged at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
Garcia believes fans will be able to see the Donaire of old – the switch-hitting, made-for-TV, headhunter – rather than the one who was unable to score a knockout over Narvaez in October, 2011. Whilst admitting Vazquez would represent a “tough” challenge, Garcia said: “This will be a fight where I think that you will see the best out of Nonito, and that he will succeed in. He’ll come out with a win.”
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Former lightweight champion of the world Brandon Rios does not know how to feint, lacks a game-plan and, versus John Murray, swung fists in a bout that was all brawn yet lacked technique. That is the opinion of five-time Futch-Condon award winner Freddie Roach, who has questioned whether increasingly-popular Mexican-American Robert Garcia teaches his fighters fundamental skills in boxing at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Oxnard, California.
Within Roach’s stable of fighters is a multitude of considerable world champions that includes: WBC middleweight world titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, WBO welterweight championship incumbent Manny Pacquiao and WBA/IBF unified super lightweight king Amir Khan, of Britain.
Khan (26-1-0, 18ko) boxes American fighter Lamont Peterson on Saturday, December 10 and is a hot betting favourite to retain his two belts. Speculation regarding whom he will be matched with after Peterson has been rife, with a 140lb grudge fight with Timothy Bradley mooted, together with welterweight challenges against fellow Englishman; Kell Brook, a pound-for-pound showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr and a shot at vengeance against Brandon Rios, most likely at super lightweight should it be arranged.
Speaking to Boxing Talk, Roach explained: “Amir Khan will expose Brandon Rios at 140. I definitely want to see that fight. I want Amir to stay at 140 and beat Rios just for me. Brandon Rios made fun of me before with my Parkinson’s [disease, in a Youtube video prior to Pacquio's super welterweight catchweight contest with Antonio Margarito. The clip has since been deleted from the site] and even though it was funny, I feel I was disrespected.”
Rios (29-0-1, 22ko) is coached by Garcia in Oxnard. When fighting out of the Garden City Boxing Club in Kansas City as an amateur, Rios – along with Victor Ortiz – began to attract the attention of Garcia who took them to Oxnard in order to develop them into professional athletes. Ortiz has since parted ways with Robert in order to receive instruction from Garcia’s brother, Danny, but Rios and Robert maintained their relationship.
The decision to continue his camp with Robert paid dividends as, in February 2011, he – as a brawler – upset the odds by securing a convincing technical knockout at the expense of Miguel Acosta. Rios fell behind in the early stages of the fight but, once he settled into the tie, his aggression broke Acosta down.
Rios became the new ‘Regular’ WBA lightweight titlist with the win; an honour he defended against Urbano Antillon, showing a different method of victory by exchanging with his fellow California resident, prevailing by third round stoppage.
Most recently, ‘Bam Bam’ handed a smack down to English slugger John Murray.
Rios is not Garcia’s only world champion as he has also shaped the modern career of Nonito Donaire who produced a highlight reel knockout in February when he attacked Mexican great Fernando Montiel, flooring the three-weight king with an all-time classic left hook.
Garcia also works the corner for his younger brother, Mikey ‘Miguel’ Garcia, who is widely considered to be the strongest contender in a featherweight division saturated with talent. Unlike Rios, Mikey Garcia is a cerebral fighter, rather than an aggressive pressure-fighter, evidence that Robert can work with different styles. His achievements with his fighters this year will likely see him as the latest recipient of the trainer of the year prize, but Roach is unimpressed.
“Brandon is an exchange fighter. He doesn’t even know how to throw a feint, he has no game plan and you can tell. The fight the other night [Rios v Murray] was just two guys in a ring swinging at each other. It was a good fight to watch. There was a lot of action with no skill.
“It seems as if his coach isn’t teaching him any skill. The same thing goes for [Antonio] Margarito; he follows [Miguel] Cotto all around the ring without cutting the ring off. I mean that is a fundamental skill in boxing.
“Amir Khan would destroy Brandon Rios.”
All Pictures: Stacey Verbeek – Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
In an action-stacked fight card on December 3 in New York, it was the Top Rank Boxing main event between Miguel Cotto (37-2-0, 30ko) and Antonio Margarito (38-8-0, 27ko) that was the unsurprising bout of the evening as ‘Super’ WBA super welterweight championship incumbent Cotto – under the guidance of new trainer Pedro Luis Diaz – executed a punch perfect gameplan that involved both stick-and-move and tear-up tactics.
All Pictures: Stacey Verbeek – Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito, two boxers with genuine bad blood, exchanged verbal power punches at the final press conference ahead of their Saturday, December 3 clash at the Madison Square Garden in New York City that, if fists were used instead of words, would have caused knockdowns aplenty. Margarito said a super flyweight hits harder than Cotto, who retaliated by reiterating that he regards Antonio to be a “criminal”.
All Pictures: Stacey Verbeek – Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
‘Super’ WBA super welterweight world championship challenger Antonio Margarito spent more time posing for pictures than he did working out during a media day at Kingsway Gym in midtown Manhattan in New York City yesterday, Monday. The Mexican warrior, granted a license to box in the state by the respective athletic commission a matter of days ago, takes on reigning 154lb titlist Miguel Cotto at the Madison Square Garden on Saturday, December 3.
“We have a great relationship,” said Garcia to The Ring during a recent Q and A. “Not only as boxer and trainer but also as friends. Not only from what he has told me, but just being in the gym with him.”
Since returning from the handwrap scandal that saw his license to box temporarily revoked, Margarito has not shone like his former pomp, however, Garcia believes he is set to recapture his prime form.
“He has the will, and he has the motivation and he has the desire to do it again,” said the coach. “He’s telling me all of the time that he wants to do it again and that he wants to be champion again.
“Tony is training and he’s happy and he’s working so hard. That in itself tells me that he’s ready. There is nothing negative in his mind. He’s happy and very positive every day. He’s enjoying it and telling me every day that this is one of the best training camps that he’s ever had.
“We’re ready to go,” Garcia concluded.
Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
Rising featherweight sensation Miguel “Mikey” Garcia impressively halted another opponent in his most recent test – on October 22 at the WaMu Theater of Madison Square Garden, New York City – as Juan Carlos Martinez was dropped three times before incurring a technical knockout in the fourth round. The 23-year-old, arguably the most exciting contender in the 126lb weight class, has underlined the importance of his family as a focal factor in his flourishing career.
(Embedded video above credit – Youtube, SuperBoxingVideos)
Boxing is in Mikey’s blood… his older brother is Robert Garcia, an obvious pick for 2011 Trainer of the Year because of his high-profile work with world champions Nonito Donaire (who also won last Saturday) and Brandon Rios. Mikey’s father is Eduardo Garcia, the famous coach of former two-time world champion Fernando Vargas and his nephew, only one year younger than him, is Javier “Pelos” Garcia – a fierce puncher in the lightweight ranks who also serves as sparring partner to Rios and 23-year-old Mikey.
“Growing up with boxing even as little [kids] we were hanging out in the gym,” Garcia (27-0-0, 23ko) said to Top Rank TV. “To get in the sport… it was actually my nephew Pelos who started at 12-years-old, I was 13.
“He was part of some exhibition fights, I went down there and my brother signed me up to have an exhibition fight. I was never even training or anything but one of the guys didn’t have an opponent and my brother pushed me into the ring, so that’s how I started,” stated Mikey.
“Everybody’s involved and that does influence you. We’re at that level… all the fights my brother [Robert was a super featherweight world champion] had and fighters my father [Eduardo also coached Victor Ortiz and Adam Flores, who now helps coach Sergio Martinez at the famous World Crown Sports club] trained, it all helps me with my career.”
Undefeated Mikey Garcia is a tough hombre. He has stood up to the punches of all those who have stood in front of him, he is yet to taste defeat and, like On The Beak‘s post-fight report explains, he has a proven ability of swiftly finding the range necessary to deliver his match-ending blows.
Garcia has passed examinations against Cornelius Lock in a hard-fought war, slick boxer Lucian Gonzalez, late replacement Rafael Guzman, fellow contender Matt Remillard and, most recently, durable journeyman Martinez. With proven mettle, Garcia now feels he is ready for the elite in the weight class and is hopeful of booking himself fights with Puerto Rican power puncher Juan Manuel Lopez and attack-happy technician Yuriorkis Gamboa.
Garcia concluded: “We are ready to challenge for any of the titles right now or any of these guys: Lopez, Gamboa, [Jhonny] Gonzalez. I’m ready for them now!”
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
Supremely-talented Nonito Donaire defended his two bantamweight world championship titles at the WaMu Theater in New York City on Saturday, October 22 but, after his pre-fight declaration that he wanted to look spectacular, he was prevented from doing so due to the rigid defensive capabilities of opposite number Omar Narvaez. A previously undefeated fighter, Narvaez relinquished his zero to Nonito in a bout he showed no great desire to triumph in.
Judges verdict: 120-108, 120-108, 120-08; unanimous decision to Donaire.
The size difference between the Filipino Flash and El Huracan was so vast that, when squaring off against each other, it was as if two weight classes separated the pair. Donaire sent in good short lefts inside while Narvaez flicked in accurate southpaw jabs.
Figuring out the portside posturing, Donaire began sending straight right hands into Narvaez’s head. Perhaps realising he did not have the power to hurt Nonito, Narvaez boxed Donaire and adopted a stiff upright guard in order to prevent the champion’s punches connecting. Missing with uppercuts and straights, Donaire was unable to circumvent the Argentine’s defence. Trainer Robert Garcia instructed his ward to use more hook shots in order to get around the guard. Displaying Matrix-like movement, Narvaez slipped three power punches in succession that brought about crowd hollering normally reserved for heavy leather landing.
In round four, there were a multitude of shots dispensed by Donaire that were parried harmlessly off of the forearms of Narvaez, however, Nonito began finding his groove, landing solid shots and causing great trouble for the challenger. A straight to the gut, a left uppercut followed by a right hand, as well as overhand rights all connected for Donaire.
In the fifth, Narvaez landed his straight right. Omar, again, frustrated Donaire with his ring generalship, defensive shield and evasive maneuvering. Donaire, however, was the risk-taker, the aggressor and the fighter who looked the more likely to end the bout early. Narvaez was boxing for a decision but the manner in which he was doing so – safety-first – was not enough to attract the majority of the ten scores.
Donaire’s posturing was in stark contrast to Narvaez’s as the Filipino fighter had a cool, lazy left hand at waist-level, shooting-from-the-hip, while a right glove remained chin high. In round six, Narvaez showed off his slickness but his work-rate paled in comparison to Donaire. In round seven, Omar tagged Donaire with the straight right – the same punch that he had his best success with throughout the fight. There was an eagerness to pay attention to the body, for 50 percent of Donaire’s landed punches were sent toward Narvaez’s midsection. The reason for the bodywork was in order to lower Omar’s guard. If the shield became low, even momentarily, then Donaire could – like he so wanted to – go headhunting and attempt to take his man out.
By the end of round eight, there was distinct dissatisfaction from the crowd at the Theater who had begun jeering in unison. Donaire doubled up on the jab in round nine, the first to the body, the second to the head and, by the round’s end, he threw punches in bunches yet most of them were blocked thereby limiting the champion’s success rate.
Donaire employed more lateral movement in round 11, perhaps in an attempt to give him additional angles as, previously, he was too reliant on forward lines. He also upped the number of punches he strung together in his combination work, unleashing – as a minimum – four shot flurries. The punch that would miss most often, because of Narvaez’s ducking skills, was Donaire’s left hook, but his straight shots carried more success.
When Nonito returned to his corner to receive his final instruction from trainer Robert Garcia, he was asked how he was doing: “I’m bored,” said Donaire, “I just want to fight,” he added, voicing his discontent at the negative tactics employed by his opponent.
In the final round, the New Yorkers in attendance were chanting “This is bullsh*t!” over and over as, even though Narvaez needed a knockout to win, he continued to show an unwillingness to stand and trade with Donaire. In a damning sign of how ineffective Narvaez was, Nonito was only troubled when he put his foot on the gas, threw a right and then missed with a left only to entangle and almost strangle himself on the ropes.
Donaire was desperate to return to the ring following the promotional tug-of-war that ensued between Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions – one which delayed his ability to fight for eight months. When he finally had an opponent in front of him, he was presented with one who refused to engage, was not busy, landing a paltry amount of punches and the ones that connected had little effect. Donaire, a pound-for-pound climber, came to fight, wanted to force the issue but ended up having to endure a distance fight.
“I want to thank the Filipino, Latino boxing fans,” said Donaire to HBO after the official announcement of his shutout victory. “I did my best. I’m sorry it didn’t come out the way we all wanted. He’s a great champion, I have great respect for him. You have [Sergio] Martinez and [Marcos] Maidana – they come to fight. He didn’t.
“I now know how [Manny] Pacquiao felt with [Joshua] Clottey,” quipped Nonito. “I’m definitely moving up to 122lbs now. I was beginning to cramp up so 122lb is definitely the weight for my next fight.”
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
Knockout artist Miguel “Mikey” Garcia added another stoppage victory to his resume as he thrice floored resilient Mexican, Juan Carlos Martinez, in a fourth round technical knockout triumph at the WaMu Theater, Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday, October 22. An undefeated prizefighter, Garcia has proven time and again that all he needs to do is find the range and he can end a fight at any time. A world title shot surely beckons…
Judges verdict: Garcia by way of fourth round TKO.
One of the most exciting featherweights in world boxing, Miguel Mikey Garcia – who fights out of the boxing hotbed that is Oxnard, California – defended his NABF belt at 126lbs against Juan Carlos Martinez, a journeyman from San Luis Potosi, Mexico who is better than his record suggests.
Garcia traditionally starts at a slow pace as he assesses his opponent, the strength, the speed and posturing. A cerebral boxer, Mikey works patiently behind his orthodox jab and owns an exquisite defence that has been penetrated only rarely. As early as round one Garcia showed Martinez who was boss with an accurate one-two combination that he executed to perfection against the late Rafael Guzman in his last bout, in June.
Displaying exceptional footwork, Garcia rotates ever so slightly in a clockwise fashion around the ring. Martinez, though, was beginning to find his groove as he stayed at long range – in an effort to avoid Garcia’s huge right hand – and unleashed his own jab. He wasn’t able to keep Garcia off him for long, though, as Garcia crashed a right cross into Martinez’s face with a thud that reverberated around the Theater and drew gasps from the New York masses.
By the start of round three, Garcia was sporting swelling under his left eye due to an accidental coming together of heads. Whilst Martinez consistently acted like the more active prizefighter, it is important to remember when scoring a fight that effective aggression constitutes a large portion of whom won each round. When it comes to Garcia, he was throwing less but the shots he dispensed were far, far heavier and with just 20 seconds remaining on the round clock, that one punch power was highlighted as Martinez was floored with a punishing left hook.
Boxing with a classic stance, Garcia tucks his chin in, keeps his gloves up and, when not throwing, keeps a stiff guard in order to provide a shield against the numerous shots from Martinez. With a swelling that was blackening and growing into his eye, Garcia fought with more urgency and sent Martinez crashing to the canvas twice in round four – both of which caused by an accumulation of punches, as opposed to singular blows.
Showing tremendous finishing ability, Mikey sent heavy shot after heavy shot into Martinez’s skull until the referee was forced to intervene and call an end to the fight, thus signifying a fourth round technical knockout for Garcia. With victory, Garcia enhanced his already incredible reputation further, retained possession of his regional title and saw his record jump to 27-0-0, 23ko. Martinez, meanwhile, dropped to 19-13-1, 9ko.