Written by Tré Berry III | 05/30/2021
Ladies and Gentleman…..we are looking at a possessed individual here in 🇵🇭Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donare (41-6-0, 27KO), who was hellbent on snatching time back to make up for the portion of his career in which he was out of his natural division, and looked to be a shell of himself. Ever since he returned to 118 lbs., and changed his diet, as well as lighting the flame that was once dimmed out , he has been electric, with performances that call back to the days when he was regarded as one of the 5 best fighters in the world.
Though the journey doesn’t stop here with what he managed to do tonight, this victory for the 38 year old is a snapshot in time in terms of perseverance, and late career greatness exuded, as tonight, he obliterated then-undefeated World Titlist 🇫🇷Nordine Oubaali (17-1-0, 12KO), violently snatching away his WBC Bantamweight Title, knocking him down 3 times, and eventually out in a way where Oubaali, a legitimate top-flight Bantamweight, didn’t look like he belonged in the same ring with the heralded Filipino fighter.
NONITO DONAIRE VS. NORDINE OUBAALI – HOW IT ALL UNFOLDED ON THIS NIGHT:
Oubaali was trying to gain the respect a Champion should by starting off, stepping into range, and looking to fire first, staying behind the 1-2 combo. Nordine’s bread and butter is to exert his physical strength to manhandle his opponents, to eventually grind them down and weaken them, then bounce out to middle range, to pick them apart with combinations.
Sadly for him on this night, the areas where Oubaali is proficient in executing, Donaire has mastered, so he was quickly able to nullify Oubaali’s strengths from the get-go. Donaire did that by targeting the body, throwing some mustard behind the jab downstairs, and the cross to the pit of the stomach. Oubaali, normally one of the more accurate punchers in the sport, found it a difficult task to get around, and/or split the high guard with his jab, or cross.
The southpaw doesn’t have a very good right hook, so he had a dilemma on his hands. Oubaali’s first meaningful punch landed was a straight left hand right down the pike to Nonito’s chin, but Donaire followed back immediately with a right of his own. It appeared towards the backend of the first round, that Donaire already had a beat on Oubaali’s timing, and always had the right hand cocked, looking to fire the missile to counter over, or around Nordine’s left hand.
The titlist Oubaali was far more aggressive in the second round, as he being the shorter, more compact fighter had to take risks to get into Donaire’s wheelbarrow. Nonito recognized what was going on, so he took the angles away from him, and committed to firing the inside left uppercut to catch him coming in, and stepping back and to the side, to check the left hook.
In the 3rd round, that counter left hook paid off, as he got it in over a lazy Oubaali right uppercut from too far out, and dropped him to the canvas for the first knockdown in his career. He got up. Back in action, he didn’t shy away from exchanges, leave himself open once again, as he was a sucker for the left hook. He ate another one, then literally at the bell, Donaire landed a killer of a left hook that forced Oubaali to slump down to the canvas in slow motion – Wow.
Nordine wobbled up to his feet, lethargic, dazed, and confused. Referee Jack Reiss is an excellent Ref, but he is one that tends to find himself in the strangest of moments (laughs), here getting Oubaali to walk with him, and said “give me your gloves”, to which Oubaali didn’t respond, so Jack yelled it to him this time “give me your gloves!”. This time Oubaali did so, and Reiss signaled for the bell to ring, to end the round. Oubaali was so hurt by the left hook, that he didn’t know which corner to go to, even after Reiss told him countless times to turn back, and go to the blue corner, but after about 8 seconds, he eventually wobbled back to his stool.
After the odd sequence following the massive knockdown. Nonito remained patiently dangerous in round 4, feverishly stalking Oubaali, who was on the move, and Nonito was adamant on not wasting any punches in his pursuit. Donaire got closer and closer – It was only a matter of time before the big bomb went off, with Oubaali standing by the blast.
As Nordine’s back touched the ropes, Donaire ripped away with a left hook, left uppercut, slipped the counter, then landed a big right hand, as impressive a combination as he authored up all fight, and that I’ve seen from him in a long time. The end came when he let off a huge left hook, cross, left uppercut combination that left Oubaali slumped by the ropes, down for a third time, and out, as Jack Reiss waived his count off at 4, for the devastating knockout victory for Donaire, who can once again, call himself a World Titlist.
The crowd at Dignity Health Sports Park erupted in one of the loudest cheers I’ve heard since pre-pandemic. Donaire knelt down in a bow almost immediately out of respect, in hopes that Nordine Oubaali was okay, after collapsing under the power of them shots. Oubaali’s overall condition was fine according to cognitive tests, and Donaire was able to celebrate with his people. The ol’ wily veteran did it once again.
NONITO DONAIRE ONCE AGAIN, ADDS A FEW NEW CHAPTERS TO HISTORY
Nonito Donare became the Oldest Bantamweight Titlist of all time (38), which is amazing considering that fighters in the lower divisions tend to hit the wall faster than boxers at heavier weights, usually starting their downward slide around 30 years of age, yet he’s fighting conventional wisdom.
Of course “Father Time” always gets the last laugh because…biology, and time isn’t the friend of an athlete (and people in general), but sometimes father time DOES in fact lose in the moment, when it is expected to strike, and Nonito since joining the WBSS Bantamweight Tourney, doesn’t look like the old fighter everyone thought of him as a few years prior.
During the post-fight interview inside of the ring, Donaire further emphasized that the two lofty goals that is fueling his late run in the sport happen to be intertwined with each other, that being securing a rematch with THEE Bantamweight Champion of the World 🇯🇵Naoya “Monster” Inoue (20-0-0, 17KO), whom Donaire made his life a living hell…and the second goal being becoming an Undisputed World Champion, something that he’s never done, but feels capable of doing, even that this juncture of his career.
Considering where he was years ago, he doesn’t even look like the same person. He appears to be completely rejuvenated, and even expressed as much, stating that since he changed his diet, and work out routine to get back to his true optimal weight, that he firmly believes that he can continue his rebirth at Bantamweight at a high level for the next 5 – 10 years.
Time is an interesting commodity, and he is certainly not one to argue with, but if he really can stretch it that far, then boxing as a whole is much, much better for it. He also took a solemn moment during his speech, to divert the attention away from him, to address the hate rhetoric that has been running rampant towards Asian people, stoked by the pandemic reaction, stating that his father (🇵🇭Filipino) is scared to leave the house, because many of these individuals are attacking the elderly with their heinous, callous actions.
Taking time away from your achievement, to discuss a much more important matter, that hits home for him, is the most Nonito Donare thing he could’ve done, and it speaks to the level of his character, which can match the prowess of his Hall-of-Fame career, which says all you need to know about him