Alexandro Santiago won his first world title tonight, beating Nonito Donaire by unanimous decision to claim the previously vacant WBC bantamweight title.
Santiago won on official scores of 115-113, 116-112, and 116-112. Bad Left Hook’s two unofficial scores were wider, at 119-109 on both of our cards, and the general feeling is that the judges had the fight closer than it really was.
Santiago (28-3-5, 14 KO) was close on the pre-fight odds than it seemed most expected, but the bettors obviously had some feelings about the age of the 40-year-old Donaire (42-8, 28 KO), and a combination of Father Time and Santiago excellently executing on the night were too much for the Hall of Fame-bound Filipino star.
Santiago and Donaire were about even on the punch stats, which might actually be accurate, but they just didn’t tell the story of the fight. Donaire went back to what hurt him a bit even when he was winning earlier in his career, “falling in love” with his left hook perhaps to the detriment of the overall game plan.
But that may have been more necessity than a tactical mistake this time, though Nonito believes it was simply that he didn’t fight the way he had trained.
“I feel good still, and a big congratulations to Alexandro, because he deserves it, he’s a tough guy,” Donaire said. “I love the sport so much, but we gotta go back to the locker room and talk about it. I felt good, but some things just didn’t trigger. I didn’t pull the trigger. I was just trying to counter so much, trying to put too much power into it.”
Donaire didn’t seem remotely intent on retiring, though with his previously stated dream of going undisputed getting a major setback here, in a division where that would have been tough to accomplish any time before he was 42, you have to wonder what’s really left for him.
Asked what Nonito told him after the bout, Santiago said, “It’s been an honor to fight such a legend like Nonito Donaire, and he just told me thank you for this great fight.”
“We were very focused, and in training camp, we tried to find the mistakes Nonito makes,” he added.
.@filipinoflash stuns Santiago, landing a left hook while his back was against the ropes to buckle Santiago’s knees. Y far the get punch of the fight so far by Nonito. #Donaire— Premier Boxing Champions (@premierboxing) July 30, 2023
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