Fantasy Fights: Israel Vazquez vs. Nonito Donaire

By Cain Bradley on November 10, 2017
Fantasy Fights: Israel Vazquez vs. Nonito Donaire
Both men wear a crimson mask, with the cuts opened up above the eyes of Vazquez.

Donaire was slowed by the continual attacks of Vazquez and finally in the tenth he goes down for the first time…

Israel Vazquez made his debut in 1995 after a strong amateur career, stopping his first nine opponents. He would be shocked in his tenth bout though by Ulises Flores, a Mexican journeyman. He rebounded well, winning 11 straight. His best win came over Oscar Larios, unbeaten at the time, and would go on to be a two-weight world champion. He was once again shocked, however, this time by Marcos Licona, who won a split decision for the WBO NABO Super Bantamweight Title. He would then go on another streak, although it was almost stopped early by Hector Velazquez, who he only beat by a split decision. He became the NABF champion by stopping Don Don Concepcion and defending that title once. Two wins later, he was in a shot for a world title against Oscar Larios, who he had already defeated. This time, Larios outboxed Vazquez and eventually stopped him in the twelfth round for the interim WBC Super Bantamweight Title.

He rebounded with three wins to put himself in the spot for another title shot, the best of which was Jorge Eliecer Julio. The title was the IBF Super Bantamweight Title and he would fight southpaw Jose Luis Valbuena. This time he did not let the chance slip, winning the title with a technical knockout in the final round. Unbeaten Artyom Simonyan was also stopped in the fifth round. He would have a rubber match with Oscar Larios as he vacated his IBF Title in an attempt to win the WBC Title held by Larios. He knocked Larios down in the first round and opened a deep cut above the right eye in the third round which caused the referee to stop the fight. Ivan Hernandez was also stopped in four rounds before he took on Jhonny Gonzalez, a world title holder at Bantamweight. Gonzalez dominated the fight early, arguably winning the first six rounds and dropping him twice. Vazquez was always marching forward though and dropped Gonzalez in the seventh. He hurt him with right hands and left hooks, finally finishing him in the tenth.

His crowning moment came in a trilogy against Rafael Marquez, moving up from the Bantamweight division. The first was hyped up as being a potential great fight and somehow it surpassed expectations. Marquez broke the nose of Vazquez in round one and overcome a knockdown to see of Vazquez in seven who stated “I can’t anymore.” The second bout was even better, named as The Ring fight of 2007. Straight away the pair waged war against one another. The third round saw neither man take a backwards step, as they hurt each other with violent shots. The sixth round saw Vazquez land a left hook to drop Marquez. He stepped it up another gear, battering a dazed Marquez before the referee jumped in to stop the bout.

The third would also be named as a Ring fight of the year. Marquez got the knockdown in round four but that seemed to only encourage Vazquez. He came back with big powerful punches which cut up the face of Marquez and eventually dropped him round twelve. This combined with a point deduction for low blows, saw Vazquez get the split decision nod. It was over 18 months before he returned to the ring due to a detached retina, that has now caused him to lose the eye. He had been stripped of his titles due too an inability to defend them. He beat Angel Antonio Priolo in nine to signal his return. The oft forgotten fourth bout against Marquez was the final one for Vazquez. After being cut and bloodied, he was stopped in the third round.

Vazquez has a well earned reputation for being one of the most exciting fighters since the turn of the century. Probably the main reason for this is he never met a punch that he did not want to put his face on. He was a super aggressive fighter who looked to drag his opponents into the trenches and not let them out. He was a power puncher who stopped the majority of his opponents. A lot of these stoppages did come from his pace and heavy compact punches which tended to add damage rather than a one-punch specialist. When he chose he had a solid technique with a decent jab and could actually move. He clocked in at 5’5 with a 67” inch reach. His main undoing tended to be a tender skin which led to him being susceptible to cuts. A good chin was backed up by being an incredibly gutsy fighter.

Nonito Donaire was the third of four children born in Talibon, Philippines. He comes from a family of boxers including his brother Glenn, cousin Richard and his Father Nonito who boxed in the amateurs. Until he was six he lived in South Cotabato, attending the same school as Manny Pacquiao where he was bullied because of his small stature. At the age of 11, he moved to California along with his father, gaining citizenship through his paternal Grandfather. He begun boxing to try and get the attention that his brother was getting from his parents, beginning at 11. He watched videos of his hero Alexis Arguello, learning how to throw his left hook. He won regional and district amateur titles before winning three national titles and the 1999 International Junior Olympic gold medal, turning professional after amassing an amateur record of 68-8, signing with Jackie Kallen.

He lost his second bout, a controversial decision to Rosendo Sanchez. After only four fights though he left his contract with Kallen, along with brother Glenn, to return to San Leandro where there would be less distractions. In his sixth bout, he won the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight Title stopping Khachonsak Pothong in the second round. He would keep on winning, eight straight bouts, before getting another title shot. It was for the NABF Title against Kahren Harutyunyan. His counter punching won him a split decision and the belt. He defended the belt only once, widely outpointing Oscar Andrade. His crowning moment came against Vic Darchinyan for the IBF Flyweight Title with a superb left hook knockout after four even rounds. The Ring named it their upset of the year and knockout of the year. He made three defenses of that belt, all won by violent stoppage including Moruti Mthalane and Raul Martinez.

He won the WBA Interim Super Flyweight Title by defeating Rafael Concepcion, retaining the title three times before moving up to Bantamweight. He took on Fernando Montiel, unbeaten for five years, for WBO and WBC Titles. He stopped him in the second round with a huge left hook. Undefeated two division world champion Omar Narvaez was next and he won a boring decision. Rising up the pound for pound rankings, he once against moved up a division. He won a decision against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. for the WBO Title although one judge shockingly gave it to Vazquez. He beat Jeffrey Mathebula, Jorge Arce and Toshiaki Nishioka to be The Ring Super Bantamweight Champion.

Following this he would take on one of the greatest amateurs of all time in Guillermo Rigondeaux. He knocked down Rigondeaux in the tenth but was outclassed, unable to hit the Cuban for the majority of the decision. Following this he moved further up to Featherweight where he defeated Vic Darchinyan in a rematch by stoppage. He won the WBA Title over Simpiwe Vetkeya before Nicholas Walters stopped Donaire. Since then he has returned to Super Bantamweight, again winning a world title; this time over Cesar Juarez for the WBO Title. He lost the belt to Jesse Magdaleno before his last fight saw him beat Ruben Hernandez.

Donaire is probably best known for his athletic ability. He has incredible quickness and is a powerful puncher. Boxing comes so naturally to him, that he trained for the Marquez fight completely in southpaw. He is a jerky boxer puncher who likes to counter punch. Often his power frightened opposition into meekly staying away from him which meant Donaire had to force the action. He likes to counter over the jab of an opponent with a right hand while the left hook is his best punch. He uses angles really well to keep opponents off balance. He has quite a good chin which makes up for defensive deficiencies. He lacks a traditional guard with his hands usually held low but does not have the reflexes to make up for it.

Both men try to bound to center ring, it will be Vazquez who gets on the front foot and dominates proceeding. Donaire seems content with this situation in the first couple of rounds as he has the timing of Vazquez early, countering and moving off at angles. He has no issues finding his range as Vazquez is just so easy to find. Vazquez though is not perturbed by any means and just keeps up the pace. As Donaire begun to tire and grow in confidence though, he chose to exchange with Vazquez more. This is an awful move for Donaire. Vazquez is built for this type of fight. Despite this it also means Donaire gets a chance to use his power and he drops Vazquez in the fourth round with a left hook halfway through the round. He looks to jump on Vazquez but he squares up when throwing combinations and opens himself up which Vazquez takes advantage of. Vazquez makes it into more of a war and he gets on top of Donaire. Both men wear a crimson mask, with the cuts opened up above the eyes of Vazquez. Donaire was slowed by the continual attacks of Vazquez and finally in the tenth he goes down for the first time and the ensuing attack leads the referee to jump in and stop the contest.

Result: Israel Vazquez stops Nonito Donaire at 2.18 in the tenth round

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