Fight Scribe Bullets: The Nonito Donaire edition

nonito-donaire-omar-narvaez(This piece appeared in InterAKTV on October 27, 2011.)

by Mark Lorenzana

Styles make fights. Every fight fan worth his or her salt has surely heard this old boxing cliche lots of times, and for good reason—the outcome of a bout usually depends on the fighting styles dished out by the fighters atop the squared ring.

In past years, different (and similar) fighting styles have given us the following: the dramatic carnage of the Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward trilogy; the fascinatingly violent ebb and flow of Rafael Marquez and Israel Vasquez’s four fights; the one-sided but legendary bout between Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns; the amazing comeback by the late Diego Corrales against Jose Luis Castillo in their first fight; and the shocking upset that was the Rumble in the Jungle, where an older Muhammad Ali’s speed, technical skills, and superb ring IQ proved too much to handle for a younger and supposedly stronger George Foreman.

Of course, these differences and similarities in fighting styles don’t always result in exciting and unforgettable fights, those fights that get nominated for Fight of the Year by The Ring magazine. More often than not, they result in forgettable snooze-fests like Manny Pacquiao-Joshua “the Turtle” Clottey, the second Pacquiao-Marco Antonio Barrera fight (where Barrera changed his style to that of a marathoner), Devon Alexander-Timothy Bradley, Floyd Mayweather-Carlos Baldomir, the last twelve Bernard Hopkins fights, and the recent Nonito Donaire-Omar Narvaez fight.

Speaking of the latter, on to the bullets:

  • A lot of people I know are still furious about the outcome of the Donaire-Narvaez fight. Why? Because those guys wagered beer money that Narvaez wouldn’t last the distance against Donaire, and, well, we all know what happened: Narvaez refused to fight and was more concerned about lasting the distance against Nonito. Can’t blame the guy, though. Donaire has knocked out eight of his last ten opponents, and Narvaez can at least brag that he finished the fight on his feet. Problem is, he didn’t even win a round on the judges’ scorecards; all the judges scored the fight 120–108 for Donaire. “Neither of us wanted to make a mistake because in this kind of fight, it can be fatal. You cannot neglect an opponent like Nonito at any time,” Narvaez said after the fight. While I agree with Narvaez when he said that making a mistake in boxing is fatal, I disagree with his statement that neither of he nor Donaire wanted to make a mistake. Donaire did his job by actually fighting, which means Nonito actually took risks. Narvaez, on the other hand, plastered his gloves to his mug all night and hopped on his bicycle instead of going toe-to-toe with Donaire. While I was a bit disappointed with the fight (I began channel surfing at the start of the sixth round), a win is a win for Donaire, and he can at least look forward to more exciting and lucrative fights in the future.
  • A quick glance at the CompuBox numbers of the fight will show just how outgunned Narvaez was: Donaire threw a total of 666 punches, landing 99. Eighty-five of those punches that landed for Donaire were power shots.In contrast, Narvaez only threw a total of 299 punches, landing 41, 33 of which were power punches. When I said at the beginning of this post that styles make fights, I meant the natural fighting style of a boxer—without the fear factor thrown in. Consider this: the average super flyweight throws around fifty-seven punches a round, and when Narvaez was still campaigning at 115, four of the five CompuBox-tracked fights that Narvaez figured in showed that the Argentinian boxer exceeded the super flyweight average of punches per round: he threw 68.7 punches in a win against Everth Briceno, 83.7 against Victor Zaleta, 70.3 against William Urina, and a staggering 126.2 against Santiago Acosta. Narvaez fought those four aforementioned fights in the past year, so that was a thirty-five-year-old boxer throwing a hellacious amount of punches per round, way above the so-called average of a fighter in his weight class.
  • Obviously, Narvaez became gun-shy against Donaire because he felt that the Filipino was more than capable of knocking him out. That’s why he overcompensated on his defense, his offense (and any chance of winning) be damned. Narvaez added: “I think I have the doors open to fight again in America, but next time it’ll be in the super flyweight category.” Really? With that kind of showing in his debut fight in the United States? I don’t think so. Narvaez should remember that Joshua Clottey put on a similar performance against Manny Pacquiao, and although Clottey finished the fight on his feet, he was immediately dropped by HBO for his lackluster performance. Said a visibly disgusted Freddie Roach after the fight, “He [Clottey] was satisfied with going the distance with Manny Pacquiao, and he did. But HBO will never use him again.” Narvaez seemed to be satisfied with going the distance against Donaire, but it remains to be seen whether he will be fighting on US soil again.
  • So what’s next for Nonito Donaire? Apparently, Top Rank’s Bob Arum has his sights on a couple of options for Donaire: WBO super bantamweight champion Jorge Arce and WBC super bantamweight titlist Toshiaki Nishioka. El Travieso is fresh off a successful defense of his title after stopping South African Simphiwe Nongqayi in four rounds last month. Arce picked up his belt in emphatic fashion after beating Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. in the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley fight last May. On the other hand, Nishioka successfully defended his title against future hall of famer Rafael Marquez early this month.Again, styles make fights: after his disappointing fight against Narvaez, I’m looking forward to Donaire fighting Arce first. Arce is never in a boring fight, and with his all-action style against Donaire, expect fireworks. I’m not saying that a Donaire-Nishioka fight will be boring, but because Nishioka is more of a stylistic boxer compared to Arce, who is more of a brawler, a Donaire and Nishioka fight will be more of a chess match. And heck, we want our boxing.Against Arce, Nonito Donaire will be his old explosive self again. I hope Bob Arum can make it happen soon. After Narvaez, he owes us that fight. Badly.

Ask the Fight Scribe: Stupid Answers to Nonexistent Readers’ Thoughtless Questions

(This piece appeared in my now defunct fight blog, Pinoy Fight Scribe, in 2012.)

by Mark Lorenzana

When I was a kid, I enjoyed reading my dad’s collection of Mad Magazines, and one of my favorite long-running segments of the humor magazine was the great Al Jaffee’s “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions.” That, along with Gustavo Arellano’s witty and irreverent “Ask a Mexican” column in the OC Weekly as well as Drew Magary’s hilariously profane Funbag in Deadspin, is the inspiration for this blog post, which, I hope, will be the first of many here on Pinoy Fight Scribe.

I’m not claiming that this uninspired and painfully unoriginal blog segment will be witty or hilariously profane (after all, both stupid questions and thoughtless answers are—you guessed it—going to be supplied by yours truly [how fun {or pathetic} is that?]). Instead, I’d like to think of this as a drunken dare gone horribly wrong. (Come to think of it, even after more than two years of its existence, this entire blog feels like a drunken dare gone horribly wrong.)

The first installment of this auto-answer bag will focus on boxing. On to the questions (and answers):

Q: Will Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. eventually fight each other? If the fight happens, who’s your pick?

A: In all honesty, I don’t think the fight will ever happen. Here are just some of the reasons:

  1. Both guys have huge egos. Especially Mayweather.
  2. Mayweather is afraid to tarnish his undeafeated record, and Pacquiao has a very good chance of handing Floyd his first loss.
  3. It appears that Bob Arum is not too keen on making the fight happen.

They may fight, or they may never fight at all, but one thing’s for sure—a lot of boxing fans have grown tired of all the shit that has been flying from both camps. World War III won’t erupt if the fight doesn’t push through, and the fight, if it happens, won’t solve the global food crisis or bring about world peace anyway. So fuck it. Shove this damn fight up all them greedy boxing people’s filthy asses.

If the fight does, by some divine intervention, push through (late this year, for example), I’m going with Pacquiao. If the fight happens much, much later (a few years from now), I’d have to give it to Mayweather. Both fighters aren’t spring chickens anymore, and both have lost a step or two. Pacquiao is an offensive pressure fighter who relies more on his physical talents to win fights, while Mayweather is more defensive minded and tactical. In their primes, Pacquiao’s pressure will be too much for Floyd, and I’m leaning toward a Pacquiao split decision win. Past their primes, I’m leaning toward Mayweather via unanimous decision.

Q: Who is Genaro Garcia?

A: It depends on which Genaro Garcia you’re referring to. There’s Genaro “Panterita” Garcia, a Mexican lightweight boxer who sports a dismal 10-12 win-loss record and whom Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista knocked out inside two rounds early this month. Then there’s  Genaro “Poblanito” Garcia, another Mexican boxer whom Bautista was supposed to be fighting instead of Panterita. This Genaro Garcia sports a better record of 38 wins, 8 losses, with 22 of those wins coming by way of knockout.

Apparently, someone screwed up, and ALA Promotions lost money because of the switcheroo. Now ALA is suing the Mexican agent who screwed up, Hugo Correa, but the latter is denying any wrongdoing and insists that he sent the correct Genaro Garcia to the Philippines.

Anyway, Google the name “Genaro Garcia,” and you’ll find out that there’s a shitload of people around the world with the same name. With a little patience, hard work, and lots of idle time, you’re bound to come across the Genaro Garcia that you’re looking for. Good luck. You’ll need it.

Q: Will Manny Pacquiao really retire after his fight with Timothy Bradley? I don’t know who to believe anymore.

A: Just read the news on a daily basis and decide which story you want to believe in. One day a news report will say that Pacquiao is planning to retire after the Bradley fight so he can focus more on his religious duties; the next day, another news story will say that Pacquiao will fight on until 2013. Just remember, don’t let the conflicting reports get to you. You know what, I change my mind. Do not read the news at all. And avoid the sports section at all costs. Go turn on the TV and watch the Corona impeachment trial or something.

Q: Are Nonito Donaire and Brian Viloria Filipinos?

A: Of course they are. But don’t ask Arnold Clavio. Or maybe you already did, that’s why you’re confused. Else you won’t be asking this extremely stupid question. Next.

Q: Will Pacquiao be a good Bible ambassador for the Catholic church?

A: Let me answer your question with another question: has Pacquiao been a good congressman so far? Wait, come to think of it, yes, maybe he can be a good Bible ambassador. He hates contraceptives, right?

Q: What’s up with Juan Manuel Lopez? Does Orlando Salido have his number?

A: Juanma is an exciting fighter with great power and decent boxing skills. But he also has a porous defense, a suspect chin, and bad ring habits. Juanma can box, no question about that, but when he gets hit, he tends to slug it out with his opponent. That’s what happened in his first fight with Salido, that’s what happened in his second fight with Salido. He also has a problem with Salido’s overhand right, which he can’t seem to avoid hitting his face with. Juanma needs to go back to the drawing board and work on some adjustments in his game, or else he won’t be able to regain his belt.

Q: Aren’t the Klitschko brothers going to fight each other or something? It seems to me that they are holding the major heavyweight belts hostage. What do you think?

A: Of course they aren’t going to fight each other—they’re brothers. Manny Pacquiao won’t fight Bobby, Nonito Donaire won’t fight Glenn, and I won’t ever fight my younger brother inside a boxing ring. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s just wrong. About your other question, I don’t necessarily think that the Klitschkos are taking the belts hostage because they aren’t ducking anyone anyway. They take on all comers. The problem is, they don’t make heavyweights like they used to, so those opponents that get thrown the Klitschko brothers’ way all suck. So what happens is that we get all these awful heavyweight fights that are just a pain to watch. My advice to you: stick to the lower weights so you can enjoy your boxing. Or if you want to watch overweight, out-of-shape big guys trying to beat each other up in slow motion, it’s up to you. This is a free country.

Q: Why are you so damn lazy? Instead of updating this blog almost every day, you barely post four or five entries per month. You should be ashamed.

A: Blogging about boxing and MMA won’t pay my bills or put food on my table or buy me beer. A day job will, that’s why I have one. And that day job requires me to work long hours, which can be mentally taxing. I don’t have all the time and energy to update this blog every day because I need to work. And this is not work, this is a hobby, a labor of love.  So there. Unless you can afford to give me at least a thousand bucks per day so I can focus full time on updating this blog more often, I suggest you shut the fuck up.

OK, that’s it. Schizo post over. Nothing to see here anymore. Till next time, folks.