I used to be pretty good at predictions. Lately though I’ve been in some sort of drought where I’ll predict one thing and then the complete opposite happens. I think the only thing I got close to right was when I said that Donaire had a left hook that always seems to come out of nowhere and do what it has to.
And it did. It knocked Guillermo Rigondeaux down…it just didn’t keep him down. I initially predicted that Donaire would win by knockout in the eighth round by knockout but by the third round I was seeing that it was looking more and more unlikely that this was going to take place. Rigondeaux was doing everything what he needed to do. He was moving, landing punches cleanly and with quite the impact that left Donaire’s face resembling that of most of his former opponents while the most damage Rigondeaux showed was just the smallest of swelling over his right eye-a souvenir from Donaire’s left hook, no doubt.
I think what shocked me most of all, aside from the sheer dominance of Rigondeaux over one of the top five athletes in the sport, is Donaire’s admission at the end of that he didn’t study any of Rigondeaux’s tapes. Look, I don’t care if someone told me I’d be in a boxing match with an 87 year old man who spent most of his training camp in an iron lung, I’d watch whatever tapes I could find of him. The last thing any fighter of Donaire’s caliber should do is underestimate any fighter. What might be even worse is that it didn’t look like Nonito had a ‘Plan B’ when ‘Plan A’ wasn’t working.
Did those of us who picked Donaire simply overrate him? What’s more likely is that we simply underrated Guillermo Rigondeaux’s ability. And looking back at it, why were we doubting someone who had won two Olympic gold medals and fought over 400 amateur bouts? What does the future hold for him? Probably a showdown with Abner Mares but considering Mares is with Golden Boy and Rigondeaux is aligned with Top Rank…do I need to remind you that Oscar de la Hoya and Bob Arum aren’t BFFs anymore?
Donaire has indicated that he plans on moving up in weight and plans to fight once more this year after recovering from shoulder surgery. Hopefully he can show us that this defeat, his first in twelve years, was just a result of fighting a superior opponent and not a decline of any kind.