How honestly high can Donaire climb?By Recah Trinidad
Philippine Daily Inquirer
How big a step did Nonito Donaire take in his chase of the Manny Pacquiao brand of greatness following last Sunday’s victory in Carson City, California?
Reports had differed on whether Jeffrey Mathebula was three, four or five inches taller than the 5-foot-7 Donaire.
But what would come out more vague was the honest caliber of the Donaire victory by decision.
There was indeed the promise of a fistic feast, an emblematic repeat of the sweet savagery Donaire had completed in his KO conquests of flyweight Vic Darchinyan and bantamweight Fernando Montiel.
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It was a clear win Donaire scored last Sunday.
Donaire did come close to stopping Mathebula after he toppled the elongated African, both feet up, with a spear of a left hook late in the fourth round.
Prior to that Mathebula had been caught breathing hard in his corner, appearing more terrified than tired.
There was again a division at ringside on why Donaire had failed to pin down and finish off the opponent. One group said the African was saved by the bell, another group said the insistent back-pedaling and total evasiveness helped Mathebula go the 12-round distance.
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Of course, the bigger post-fight debate centered on whether it was a brilliant dominance or a below-par performance Donaire had delivered.
To set the record straight, his handler Robert Garcia said he was not totally pleased.
“We could’ve done better,” Garcia told the sharp-eyed boxing chronicler Dennis Guillermo in the dugout.
Donaire indeed had a reason to feel displeased at his overall performance that also exposed a leaky portion of his defense.
But in a happy twist, his promoter Bob Arum has sort of rewarded Donaire with what promises to be an exciting and highly profitable fight against the crowd-pleasing Mexican toughie Jorge Arce.
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This crucial test should finally help determine if Donaire deserves to be a full-fledged pay-per-view attraction.
It should also help revive his chase of the Manny Pacquiao brand of greatness.
It has become clear Donaire’s bid to be the next Pacquiao got stalled and did not progress a bit following his so-so showing against Mathebula.
The Donaire-Arce fight however promises to be a first-rate slugfest, a must-see.
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It’s like this. Donaire, after failing to score a knockout in all his three bouts in the super bantamweight bracket, will have to surpass himself against the steel-jawed Arce.
It should help determine whether or not his handlers have set the bar a bit too high for the talented southpaw.
There’s no denying Donaire has been struggling to bring his firepower into the 122-lb division where he’s now the WBO and IBF ruler.
What’s truly baffling is the haste Donaire has taken in trying to move up to the full featherweight division when there are more solid and daring opponents waiting to test him in the 122-lb class.
Does Donaire honestly feel he could climb higher and be a certified knockout star at 126 lb after failing to clear the bar as a super bantamweight?
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