From Top Rank: The warrior as wormBy Recah Trinidad
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Where in the world, wondered a nosy, world-class boxing chronicler, can you find a fighter with great credentials that could land only 49 punches in one bout?
That Japanese boxer had been peddled off—the louder the better—as a feared southpaw, a shining samurai.
The sharp snake inexplicably curled and froze into a fightless, lifeless worm when the first bell rang.
This is about the WBO super bantamweight championship fight between Nonito Donaire Jr. of the Philippines and Japanese star Toshiaki Nishioka in Carson City, California, on Sunday.
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Norm Frauenheim, who had done memorable pieces in praise of Manny Pacquiao, remained deeply perplexed at Nishioka’s performance.
“There was no way Donaire and Nishioka could put together a satisfying fight,” wrote Frauenheim in an article posted by philboxing.com.
The blame fell on Nishioka for refusing to engage, an inanity that caused fans to howl and boo right after the first round.
Everybody was also left to ponder how Top Rank had taken the gall to frantically trumpet off Nishioka as a Pacquiao clone.
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Those who knew something about the Sweet Science did not have to wait for the second round. They all started to cry “mismatch.”
It’s funny, but the hot-selling bout instantly slipped into a cat-and-mouse vaudeville.
Of the 49 punches Nishioka supposedly landed, only 26 were solid, the rest were jabs and grazes.
Meanwhile, the computed effort of Donaire did not manifest his complete output.
The Filipino Flash, who visibly went through one hell of a training camp, in fact had to play it extra cautious, lest Nishioka break down without taking a single big punch.
It was all so new, he had not met someone as distantly strange. So, if to a surgeon, Nonito had to operate with utmost dexterity in order to pull out the cold, cold opponent from his shaking shell.
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Will the TKO win, registered as a ninth-round stoppage, enhance Donaire’s caliber as a world pound-for-pound star?
Well, yes and no.
The masterful effort definitely adds luster to his genius and wizardry, how he was able to turn the garbage of a mismatch into valid theater.
At the same time, the quality of opposition, the degree of danger, not to mention the doubtful difficulty, could also detract from the brilliance.
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In the end, it’s hard to ascertain how fans could be saved from a repeat of that Japanese star performance that, absurd as it was, turned into a discredit for the sport.
Pardon this but, after all the things he was allowed to say about himself in the run-up to the Sunday main event, Nishioka must be reminded that he has also slurred the great tradition of the Samurai.
Nishioka indeed had a great record to stand on. But it cannot be denied that, if to a war plane, they had wrongly tinkered with his battle gear when they brought him back to the assembly plant in preparation for the dog fight.
The whole of Japan definitely stayed up to watch their compatriot. Now, as Nishioka rhymes with the word, his countrymen may have finally found a fit Japanese synonym for Mediocre.
For Top Rank, it’s time to try and laugh at itself.
It’s not everyday that they can succeed in selling a worm as a warrior.
More from this Column:
- It’s a no-contest tune-up for Manny Pacquiao
- PBA has a big problem, no thanks to Ginebra
- An urgent pitch for Koko
- Pardon the extortion, please
- What difference a pure poet makes