Nonito Donaire punches South Africa's Simpiwe Vetyeka during their WBA world featherweight title fight at the Venetian Macao hotel in Macau. Photo by Tyrone Siu, Reuters
MANILA, Philippines – Head trainer Robert Garcia was impressed with the performance of new featherweight world champion Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire despite the huge cut that forced a stop to the fight before the fifth round.
Garcia could not preside over Donaire’s training camp for his title fight against Simpiwe Vetyeka, but was at the fighter’s corner on Saturday night and was impressed by what he saw.
“I think those four rounds were awesome,” Garcia said. “He used so much speed, and I loved the in-and-out movement.”
“There were moments that I kept reminding him, because there were moments where he stood flat-footed, and that’s where he got a few punches that landed on him,” he added.
The bout was stopped before the start of the fifth round as Donaire could no longer see out of his left eye, due to a huge cut borne of an accidental headbutt in the first round.
The fight thus went to the scorecards, and Donaire won via technical decision. Scores were 49-46 across the board, with a knockdown of Vetyeka in the fourth round punctuating the win for “The Filipino Flash.”
“Nonito is very talented, and his performance was – except for that couple of headbutts and that big cut – I think it was an excellent performance,” said Garcia.
Garcia said they had no problem with the referee stopping the fight, because as each round went on, the cut above Donaire’s eye only got worse, giving Vetyeka an advantage.
“If we didn’t have that disadvantage with that big cut, Nonito could have knocked him out in two, three more rounds. He could still have done it,” Garcia said.
“But still, if we go three more rounds, and then something bad happens, the cut gets worse, his eye gets worse where he can’t fight ever again, then who are they gonna blame? The corner,” he pointed out.
“So the corner – myself, his dad, our cutman – we have to do our job, too. We have to protect our fighter.”
But in the four rounds that he fought Vetyeka, Donaire showed that he can hang with a tough, solid featherweight, said Garcia.
“This guy is a solid featherweight, and Nonito came out and hurt him, dropped him in the fourth round,” said the trainer. “So what else does he need to prove – fight eight more rounds with that cut that’s two inches deep? That’s just a big disadvantage for any fighter.”
“He also has to take care of his own health. And there’s always time for a rematch. He can always give him a rematch,” Garcia said. -- From a report by Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News.