Finger cut may scotch Arce tiffBy Marc Anthony Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
CARSON, California—A half-inch cut stands in the way of Nonito Donaire’s first-ever million-dollar fight within the year.
The 29-year-old Donaire reinjured the index finger knuckle cut in his left hand in his tactical ninth-round technical knockout of Japanese Toshiaki Nishioka on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) here, jeopardizing a possible Dec. 15 fight lined up for him by promoter Bob Arum against Mexican warrior Jorge Arce.
Donaire, who first cut the knuckle during a sparring session in his training camp for Nishioka, injured it again after unleashing an uppercut that sent the Japanese down in the sixth round. That forced him to load up his right fist to finish the job at Home Depot Center.
The cut, which soaked Donaire’s handwrap with blood, was stitched and could sideline him for the rest of the year.
Arum said he has scheduled the Donaire-Arce showdown, projected to put the Filipino Flash among millionaire fighters, in Mexico City if Donaire’s hand heals in time.
For now, however, Donaire is savoring the victory that tightened his grip of the WBO super bantamweight crown and installed him as the division’s top fighter.
“I hope to inspire people,” Donaire, who earned $800,000 against Nishioka, told the
Inquirer Sunday, saying he wanted to encourage young people to pursue their dreams not only in boxing but in other endeavors as well.
“This is not just for myself, this is for all the fans,” said Donaire.
Donaire handed the highly regarded Nishioka his first defeat in eight years, putting the 36-year-old Japanese on the brink of retirement.
The knockdown forced Nishioka to step up his attack, firing jabs and combinations which Donaire viewed as an opportunity to strike.
Late in the ninth round, just when Nishioka thought he got the Filipino Flash pinned on the ropes, Donaire sprang a crunching right straight that sent him to the floor.
For stopping Nishioka, Donaire was named by Ring magazine as the top junior featherweight champion in the world, a mythical title Nishioka used to own.
The win “solidifies his place among the best and positions himself for another high-profile fight,” wrote Michael Rosenthal of ringtv.com.