Good, bad, worse: Nonito Donaire ageless, Devin Haney fortunate


A crucial take a look at the previous week in boxing


Generally the perfect fighters give particular performances. Generally they transcend that, conducting one thing that can probably outlive them by a few years.

Nonito Donaire’s effort towards then-bantamweight titleholder Nordine Oubaali on Saturday night time at Dignity Well being Sports activities Park in Carson, Calif., falls into the latter class.

The Filipino Flash methodically dismantled an unbeaten champion earlier than lastly placing him away within the fourth spherical to say his ninth world title in three weight courses. And he did it at 38 years previous, which is a division document for a brand new titleholder.

Donaire’s ways weren’t difficult. He patiently waited for alternatives to counter his attacking opponent and did so with precision and energy, which has all the time been the important thing to his success.

What’s tougher to know is how a person who turned skilled 20 years in the past and has fought an elite degree for about 15 of them can nonetheless give virtuoso performances.

Donaire talked earlier than and after the battle about psychological energy and the resilience of 1’s physique if one takes care of it, as he does. Clearly, there’s something to be stated for what the person has been preaching.

That stated, his potential to push the good Naoya Inoue to his limits in his earlier battle and the style during which he annihilated Oubaali a two-time Olympian, speaks to one thing extra nebulous, one thing restricted to a handful of fighters, one thing like magic.

Watching Donaire rapidly scale back a very good fighter like Oubaali to helpless prey at his age was like witnessing one thing not possible. That’s what made it so dramatic. I requested myself because it was occurring, “How is he doing this after so a few years?”


Donaire expressed gratitude afterward, thanking everybody who performed a task in getting him the chance to battle Oubaali. I thank him.



Devin Haney doesn’t deserve a lot criticism after his efficiency towards Jorge Linares on Saturday in Las Vegas. In spite of everything, he defeated an elite opponent by a well-earned unanimous determination.

The issue for the 22-year-old was the style during which he completed the battle.

Haney demonstrated for nine-plus rounds why he’s thought of one off the brightest younger stars within the sport. He boxed fantastically behind his excellent jab, touchdown fast, onerous energy punches whereas all the time retaining protection in thoughts.

And one should admire his willingness to interact Linares as a lot as he did, which was an effort to stir the passions of followers. It was shaping as much as be an excellent efficiency.

Then, within the remaining seconds of Spherical 10, issues modified straight away. Linares, a robust puncher, buzzed Haney with an enormous proper hand. The younger man insisted a number of occasions afterward that he wasn’t harm however I doubt many imagine him.

He held a lot of the ultimate two rounds, at first, it appeared, to regain his senses after which for unclear causes. Was he merely cautious of Linares’ energy? Was he drained? Perhaps it was a mix of each.

Backside line: Haney’s conduct in Rounds 11 and 12 took a few of luster off what was in any other case a effective efficiency, one which may’ve been his first career-defining victory.

Once more, we shouldn’t be too onerous on Haney. He appeared good a lot of the battle and emerged with a transparent victory. And he survived some adversity to do it, for which he arguably must be recommended.

And he’ll most likely be a greater fighter going ahead due to the expertise he gained. That may not be excellent news for the opposite prime 135-pounders and people at 140.



Devin Haney holds his secondary WBC belt after his victory. David Becker / Getty Photographs

I nonetheless cringe once I hear folks seek advice from “titles” just like the one owned by Haney as professional. It’s not.

The WBC calls Haney it’s light-weight titleholder despite the fact that he sits under Teofimo Lopez, who outpointed Vasiliy Lomachenko to turn out to be undisputed champ in October.

Lomachenko received the WBC title by outpointing Luke Campbell in August 2019 and was later elevated to what the sanctioning physique calls its “franchise” champion, a particular designation that absolves the beltholder from dealing with obligatory challengers.

That’s when Haney was elevated to “full” titleholder despite the fact that he sat under Lomachenko after which Lopez, which is the reason for confusion that persists to today.

The boxing world typically acknowledges 4 sanctioning our bodies, the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO. Three of these organizations have 17 divisions, one (the WBC) has 18. Which means 69 fighters may very well be champions if every physique will get one per division.

But they’ve created multiple – typically greater than two – in every weight class, clear proof that the title system has spun uncontrolled. To be clear: The extra titles that exist, the much less they imply.

Why do the our bodies create multiple title? Greed. They cost a reasonably penny to put on their fairly belts. The extra the create, the more cash and affect they accumulate.

Sure, the system is damaged. And everybody buys into it nonetheless. The fighters love the shiny belts, the managers and promoters like to say they’re staging title fights for advertising functions and the media goes alongside for the trip.

Boxing Junkie limits the point out of titles or minimizes them – calling Haney’s belt “secondary,” for instance – however even we acknowledge them as a result of readers count on it.

The excellent news? Haney might find yourself preventing Lopez for the undisputed championship. Not less than then there can be no extra confusion.



Two facets of the Donaire-Oubaali battle had been arguably controversial. One, Donaire appeared to hit – and badly harm — Oubaali a break up second after the bell to finish Spherical 3. Referee Jack Reiss dominated that the punch was authorized and Donaire can declare he both initiated the punch earlier than the bell or couldn’t hear it. Nevertheless, I’m guessing Oubaali will eternally declare that he misplaced his title partly due to a foul. And, two, Reiss was criticized for permitting Oubaali an excessive amount of time to recuperate after the aforementioned punch, which put the Frenchman down. I attempted to time what adopted. Oubaali was given eleven-plus seconds to get to his toes, partly as a result of Reiss needed to clear the realm. And the loser had about 1 minute, 21 seconds from the time he obtained to his toes to recuperate. That’s as a result of Reiss wanted time to evaluate Oubaali’s situation. Frankly, I don’t agree with the criticism. Reiss is required by guidelines in California to conduct the evaluation if a fighter’s potential to defend himself is in query. He might’ve stopped the battle however didn’t achieve this as a result of he believed Oubaali was in a position to proceed.

Gary Antuanne Russell demonstrated towards Jovanie Santiago (14-2-1, 10 KOs) on the Donaire-Oubaali card why he’s thought of top-of-the-line prospects on this planet. The brother of Gary Russell Jr. used managed, coldly environment friendly aggression to interrupt down an opponent who was presupposed to be his most-significant take a look at to this point. A battered Santiago give up on his stool after Spherical 6 of the 140-pound bout. The youthful Russell has now stopped all 14 of his opponents. To say he’s one to look at is an understatement. … Subriel Matias (17-1, 17 KOs) additionally made a robust assertion on the Donaire-Oubaali card. The 140-pounder from Puerto Rico walked down and beat up Batyrzhan Jukembayev (18-1, 14 KOs) of Kazakhstan till the latter’s coach determined he was taking an excessive amount of punishment and ended the toe-to-toe brawl after eight rounds. Batyrzhan merely couldn’t cope Matias’ relentless output of energy punches. Spectacular efficiency. … Jason Quigley (19-1, 14 KOs) defeated Shane Mosley Jr. (17-4, 10 KOs) by a majority determination in an entertaining middleweight battle on the Haney-Linares card. Quigley, the one-time newbie standout from Eire, remained a participant within the 160-pound division together with his victory. I doubt he might beat the highest middleweights however he has most likely earned a shot at one in every of them. I’ve to offer Mosley some credit score. I keep in mind writing after his professional debut that he had little hope of succeeding however he has proved me unsuitable. He’ll by no means method the heights reached by his father – that might be an excessive amount of to ask – however he has turned himself right into a strong fighter. … Azinga Fuzile (15-1, 9 KOs) gave a robust efficiency on the Haney-Linares card, stopping Martin Ward (24-2-2, 11 KOs) in eight rounds. The 130-pounder from South Africa can field and has some energy. He additionally demonstrated psychological toughness: He was coming off a crushing eighth-round knockout loss to Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov.


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