Fans expecting fireworks from the often sensational fists of Nonito Donaire were left a little underwhelmed, as the quick-handed bantamweight cruised to a twelve round points win over tricky southpaw Omar Narvaez. The fight was a slow paced encounter, with occasional jeers greeting the lack of action, as Donaire did just a bit more throughout the twelve rounder than his cautious foe.
After a few cagey rounds to start the contest in which Narvaez had his moments, Donaire managed to break through in the fourth, catching the Argentinean with a nice right hand to the body, and splitting the guard late in the session with a stinging straight right hand. A big flurry along the ropes followed, though Narvaez was quick to fire back with a counter, and when it was clear his legs were still there, the action again slowed with Donaire going back to a more measured approach.
There were few lively moments the rest of the way, with Donaire, under instructions from trainer Robert Garcia to keep doing what he was doing, finding the mark through or around the high guard with the occasional shot. In response, Narvaez, gloves always up, failed to mount the required counter-offensive needed to change the course of the battle.
According to Donaire, there was little he could do with an opponent that refused to open up – though the reverse could also be said, as Narvaez faced a significant size disadvantage, and was courting danger whenever he dared take a risk. Of course, with Donaire steadily banking rounds, the onus was on Narvaez to take those risks, and at no point did the former fly-weight stray from his cautious game plan. He appeared content to last the distance, and he succeeded, though lost by scores of 120-108 on the cards of all three official judges.
Donaire admitted after the fight that draining down to 118lbs may have sapped his energy, as he mentioned feeling like he was cramping up in the later rounds. HBO didn’t offer fight night weights due a New York State rule, though the fighter was likely (according to his tweet the previous evening) around 130lbs, and it was no surprise to hear that he would be heading to 122 for his next bout.