Pacquiao scores; Donaire absorbs KO
SACRAMENTO, California—Manny Pacquiao scored a knockout of sorts while his once heir-apparent Nonito Donaire Jr. suffered a powerful one Sunday.
Pacquiao made a safe debut in the Philippine Basketball Association, entertaining an opening-day crowd of close to 53,000 by starting and playing for less than seven minutes.
He led his KIA Sorentos to an 80-66 win over Blackwater Elite by primarily staying on the bench.
Heeding the desire of his trainer Freddie Roach, Pacquiao will now take a break from the hardcourt to focus back on his upcoming ring date.
Pacquiao (56-5-2) defends his World Boxing Organization welterweight title against the unbeaten Chris Algieri (20-0) in Macau on Nov 22.
Donaire, meantime, can hardly take a respite and would have to do a lot of soul-searching.
The Filipino Flash, who was trying to spoil the West Coast coming-out party of Nicholas Walters at the soldout StubHub Center in Carson, California, suffered his first KO loss instead.
The Jamaican power puncher, now 26-0, sent Donaire crumpling to the canvas with a devastating overhand right to the left temple in the sixth round of their World Boxing Association featherweight titlefight.
With the most distressing loss of his career, Donaire (33-3) will have to decide whether to retire or to slide down to a lower weight class where he could be more competitive.
Two years ago, Donaire seemed to be rocketing to the stars, defeating four current and former world champions to earn the Fighter of the Year accolade from America’s boxing writers.
But Donaire’s boosters sputtered after he was dominated by Guillermo Rigondeaux in a super bantamweight unification bout last year in New York.
* * *
The International Boxing Association (Aiba) says men’s bouts can do without head guards, thus addressing a controversy ahead of its congress in Jeju, South Korea, next month.
The Aiba cited medical evaluations from the recent Asian Games that validated its controversial decision to stop using head protection.
No boxers were found to have suffered concussions during the Asiad in Incheon, South Korea, amateur boxing’s governing body said, adding that the real concern is concussions, not cuts.
With headgear out for the first time, several bouts in Incheon were stopped because of cuts, a topic that’s sure to spark floor fights in Jeju.
The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (Abap) does not have an official position on head guards.
But executive director Ed Picson said Abap had responded to a survey by Aiba a few months back.
Of the 40 or so boxers and coaches surveyed, only one boxer said he didn’t care whether the head guards were removed or not, according to Picson.
Picson said he mentioned Abap’s survey results to Aiba president C.J. Wu at the World Youth Championships in Bulgaria last April.
“Wu said the Philippines must be the only country who voted against the removal of the head guards because as far as he knew, everyone else embraced it,” Picson reported.