Tonight at 10:00 pm EST on truTV, Top Rank's Friday Night Knockout series returns with a doubleheader from San Juan, Puerto Rico, co-headlined by Puerto Rican prospect Felix Verdejo and Filipino star Nonito Donaire.
Verdejo (18-0, 13 KO) will face Brazil's Josenilson dos Santos (27-3, 17 KO) in a 10-round lightweight bout. dos Santos, 30, hasn't fought in 14 months, and has been knocked out in two of his last three fights. He's never won any fight of consequence outside of Brazil, and it's arguable that he's never won any fight of consequence.
While dos Santos has a record that makes him seem better than he is, Donaire's opponent Cesar Juarez (17-3, 13 KO) has a record that might hide how good he is right now. The 24-year-old Mexican has beaten Cesar Seda and Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr in his last two outings, and could be a bigger danger to the 33-year-old Donaire (35-3, 23 KO) than is thought going in. The fight will be for the vacant WBO super bantamweight title.
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Felix Verdejo def. Josenilson dos Santos by TKO (2:21 of round 2)
Nonito Donaire def. Cesar Juarez by unanimous decision (116-110, 116-110, 117-109)
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ROUND BY ROUND
FELIX VERDEJO vs JOSENILSON DOS SANTOS
Round 1: Hard to get excited about RBRing this after the first fight because dos Santos has no real hope of winning this fight at all. Neither of them doing much at all this round until Verdejo pushes dos Santos back a bit late in the round. Verdejo 10-9
Round 2: WHAM! Dos Santos goes down in round two and is clearly out on his feet when he gets up. It’s over. Crowd goes wild. Verdejo TKO-2
NONITO DONAIRE vs CESAR JUAREZ
Round 1: Juarez wades in lazily and Donaire hits him with a right immediately. Left hook to the body from Donaire. Juarez lands a decent right hand about two minutes in. Nonito shoots another hook to the body. Juarez not giving him a lot, which doesn't help Nonito as he's best as a counter puncher. Feeling out round, clear for Donaire. Donaire 10-9
Round 2: Juarez looking like he's going to try to punch more, but Donaire is quicker and looks focused here. Not exactly sharp so far, but focused on the plan. Donaire's counters are coming in, not landing a lot so far this round, but he's controlling. Good left hand stings Juarez, Donaire jumps in but Juarez fires back and backs him down from a huge rush. Left to the body from Nonito. Another one. Juarez letting it fly in spurts but it's not working for him. Donaire 10-9, 20-18
Round 3: Donaire really having no trouble at all with Juarez. Juarez is an OK fighter but Donaire looks like Donaire tonight and this is easy work for him. Donaire controlling most of this round, but Donaire does get caught a bit late and Juarez looks to capitalize. Donaire 10-9, 30-27
Round 4: Donaire pops Juarez with a right to the chin, and Juarez goes down, half a trip, but it's a knockdown. Another big right from Donaire when the fight resumes, and Juarez is in trouble but WINGING SHOTS BACK! He's staying in this fight. Kid is tough. Juarez with a body shot, but WHAM! THE DONAIRE LEFT HAND AND DOWN GOES JUAREZ! Fight on again, Donaire has a minute to finish in round four. Juarez taking more pretty clean shots late in the round. Right to the body. Juarez took a walloping this round. Donaire 10-7, 40-34
Round 5: Well, the fight's going to continue. Not sure it really needs to, but Juarez came to win and came to earn his keep. So he'll try. Donaire looking to sit on the counters now. Still landing a clean shot here and there. Juarez pushes Donaire to the ropes and just throws both hands like a madman. Juarez really pressing this round and throwing punches, landing some, too. Donaire's left eye swelling up some. Honestly, this round to Juarez. Juarez 10-9, Donaire 49-44
Round 6: Let's see if Donaire picks up the pace again after laying back in the fifth following the big effort in the fourth. Juarez clips Donaire with a body shot. Nonito controlling this round mostly but he looks a little tired. Still he's landing some good counter lefts, too. Donaire with a right. Left hook again from Donaire. Donaire slips and hurts his leg, limping a bit as he goes back to the corner. Donaire 10-9, 59-53
Round 7: Donaire coming out for round 7, so the injury won't end the fight. Donaire still should win, definitely. But has slipped into some of his worse habits and Juarez isn’t going away easy. The ankle is the worry, says Crystina Poncher. Uh, Juarez is wearing out Donaire a little bit in this round. Donaire moving and not throwing, has a cut near his right eye, just isn't passing the eye test right now. Donaire landing shots, Juarez landing back! Juarez bullying Donaire now. Really starting to put it on him late. Juarez 10-9, Donaire 68-63
Round 8: Juarez pressing and lands a good left hand. Nonito just backing straight up now. Juarez stalking him. The momentum is with Cesar Juarez. Nonito's not even counter punching with the ol' one at a time as consistently now. Nonito does not look mentally confident and his stamina is an issue. Juarez pressing with a two fisted attack as he puts Donaire on the ropes! HUGE LEFT COUNTER FROM DONAIRE ROCKS JUAREZ! AND ANOTHER! JUAREZ EATS THEM AND KEEPS THROWING! DRAMA! YEAH ! Juarez 10-9, Donaire 77-73
Round 9: Donaire on his bike still. But lands a good right hand. Juarez still pressuring. Juarez wearing him down and now tagging him to the body. Here comes the two-fisted psycho attack with Donaire lying on the ropes and Juarez unloading. Donaire with a right that stings Juarez and he EATS IT AGAIN. You could argue this round for Donaire on a few clean shots. And I will! Donaire 10-9, 87-82
Round 10: Donaire countering again. Looks like he might have dug deep. Juarez roughs him up again on the ropes just as I say that. Juarez’s nose just got broken, I think. But he won’t stop. OH DAMN! DONAIRE GOES DOWN ON A LEFT HOOK! Oh wait that's ruled a slip. Couldn't tell with the camera angle, but he was hurt anyway. Nonito is reeling but FIRING BOMB COUNTERS! THIS RULES! Juarez 10-9, Donaire 96-92
Round 11: Juarez pressuring again, but not throwing punches now. His nose is just pouring blood. Donaire smacking him with check hooks. His corner told him to forget a KO, just box to the win. Probably the wise idea. Juarez not throwing those crazy flurries anymore. But there's a clean shot that rocks Donaire's head back. Juarez now throwing and probably stealing the round here in the last 45 seconds. Donaire didn't do enough to make a clear case before this. Juarez 10-9, Donaire 105-102
Round 12: Donaire is gassed to hell and Juarez is coming out throwing shots right away. Donaire lying on the ropes again. He just has nothing else left. If Juarez throws, Nonito doesn't have the energy to keep moving. Donaire trying to shoot single counters, but it's not enough right now unless he catches him huge, and even if he does, it might not be enough to stop him from doing what he wants to do here. Donaire gets off the ropes and is throwing as Juarez just WALKS RIGHT INTO HIM. This is a war. Donaire landing a couple big shots! Now back to the ropes but trying to smash Juarez on the way in. This is a true battle. Both throw all the way to the bell, bleeding all over, and fall into the referee's arms to end things. What a fight. Donaire 10-9, 115-111