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Donaire repeats over Darchinyan

NONITO Donaire Jr. reprised the vicious left hook that knocked out Vic Darchinyan in the fifth round on July 7, 2007, to stop the three-division world champion once again in their eagerly awaited rematch at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, Sunday (Manila time).

Nonito Donaire Jr.’s hand is raised by referee Laurence Cole after the Filipino Flash stopped three-division world champion Vic Darchinyan once again in their eagerly awaited rematch, this time via a ninth-round TKO. CHRIS FARINA /TOP RANK
Looking to regain his status as a pound-for-pound fighter after his stunning loss to two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux last November, Donaire failed to find his range or rhythm against a methodical Darchinyan, who appeared to get the better of some toe-to-toe exchanges in Rounds 4 and 5.

After Donaire wobbled Darchinyan with a right in Round 2, Darchinyan’s trainer admonished the Australian and told him: “I don’t want him to get you with the right hand again.”

Rather than his vaunted left hook, which he figured Darchinyan prepared for, Donaire banked on his right to do the damage.

But after Darchinyan connected with big left hands in Rounds 4 and 5, trainer Robert Garcia told Donaire: “Don’t stand in front of him.”

Darchinyan’s corner sensed they had the momentum and commended the southpaw for a “beautiful work” and cautioned “everybody, stay relaxed.”

Darchinyan kept connecting with his left and appeared to have stolen some of the middle rounds with last-second flurries, a couple of them continuing even after the bell, while Donaire only had a right counter to show for his efforts.

A worried Garcia told Donaire at the end of the eighth round with his father, Nonito “Dodong” Donaire Sr, also jumping in to support Robert, “throw more punches. You can’t win this fight by throwing one punch.”

Taking their admonition to heart, Donaire caught Darchinyan, who in a throwback moment to his usual fighting style, lunged forward to keep the pressure on the Filipino, but got nailed with his patented left hook and went down.

A decidedly groggy Darchinyan, who looked to his corner for solace, beat the count, before Donaire went for the kill, swarming all over the dazed Aussie with a barrage of heavy-handed shots, including one mighty uppercut that effectively bludgeoned the helpless boxer, forcing referee Laurence Cole to call a halt at 2:06 of the round.

At the time of the stoppage, two of the three judges had Darchinyan inexplicably ahead by four points, 78-74, which translated into giving him six of the eight rounds, while the third judge had it even at 76-76.

In a post-fight interview with the Manila Standard, Donaire said: “That’s their (judges) opinion but I never wanted to leave it in their hands. I think there might be a little fracture in my cheek because I got hit hard a few times on the same side and the accumulation of punches on the same spot may have fractured my cheekbone. We’ll have it checked and have the injury fixed first.”

This meant meant postponing his planned return to Manila on Nov. 13.

“Both my hands are bruised,” added Donaire, who didn’t wish to make excuses, but disclosed that he had a touch of the flu this past week which he described as “unfortunate and we didn’t start up nearly as much as we wanted to. It was a tough one.”

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