Frampton Decisions Donaire in Great Fight

By Caryn A. Tate on April 21, 2018
Frampton Decisions Donaire in Great Fight
The Jackal was sharp, accurate, and his skills were simply beautiful. (Photo: Courtesy)

Former world champion Carl Frampton defeated former four-division champion Nonito Donaire for the interim WBO featherweight world title…

Tonight, from the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, 31-year-old former world champion Carl “The Jackal” Frampton (25-1, 14 KOs) faced 35-year-old former four-division world champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire (38-5, 24 KOs) for the interim WBO featherweight world title.

From the opening round it was obvious that both fighters were there to win. Donaire applied pressure early, making it clear with his tight technique and excellent footwork that he intended to make things hard for the hometown fighter Frampton. Donaire utilized his best punch, the left hook, to very good effect and landed some solid body shots (a smart tactic for any opponent, but particularly one who has had some trouble making weight in recent bouts).

Early in round two, swelling began to appear around the left eye of Donaire. It wasn’t clear whether it was from a Frampton right hand or a head butt. In the second, Frampton seemed to go into a different gear and established a rhythm that troubled Donaire. That continued for the next couple of rounds, though in the fourth Donaire became a bit more active. There were some good exchanges between the two in that round.

Frampton’s feints made it difficult for Donaire in the middle rounds. On top of that, the Irishman did a stunning job of negating Nonito’s six-inch reach advantage—his use of angles and footwork to play with the range and consistently change it up were beautiful and truly seemed to throw Donaire off his game.

In the fifth, Frampton began coming inside and leaning in with his head, trying to lean on and overpower Donaire. The referee warned Frampton for leading with his head, but my thoughts were that 1) he wasn’t head butting—he was simply jockeying for space with his entire body, including his head, which any good inside fighter should do; and 2) if the opponent knows how to deal with that, he can use it to his advantage. And that’s just what Donaire did—he moved back to give himself some space and landed several great uppercuts and right hands that gained Carl’s respect and had Frampton backing off a bit.

In the seventh, the fighters came inside and an accidental headbutt occurred, with Donaire getting the worst of it. He turned sideways from pain, gesturing to the referee, who oddly waved the fighters back in as if he hadn’t seen the butt—even though he was watching the action. It was a major miss on his part, because Donaire was hurt from it and it was unfair to not give him a moment of recovery from an accidental foul. The referee’s error tainted that round, and, potentially, the outcome of the bout.

Both fighters were throwing with serious power throughout the match. It was clear they both wanted to stop the other. Because of that, I was surprised that both boxers sustained good energy throughout the course of the fight—particularly Frampton, whose stamina hasn’t been great in his last couple of matches. But it appears his superb trainer, Jamie Moore, has him on the right track. Frampton hasn’t looked this good for a while—not just his energy and stamina, but he was sharp, accurate, and his skills were simply beautiful and on point, even against top shelf fighter Donaire.

In round 11, though, the future Hall-of-Famer Donaire came on strong and landed a series of vicious left hooks that visibly wobbled Frampton. They put Frampton on the back foot and he moved for almost the entire rest of the round, trying to buy himself some time. Donaire did his best to close the show, but Frampton was able to elude a knockdown (or worse).

In the final round, it was clear Nonito needed a knockout to win. To Frampton’s credit, his feet were simply too good, and he continued to box and move to avoid a bad ending for himself.

It was a phenomenal performance by Frampton, who has a tremendous skillset. He is a complete fighter, and by changing trainers to Jamie Moore, it’s obvious he made the right decision. Moore seems to have been able to help Frampton clear his mind and return to his excellent boxing skills. He looked better than he has for at least a couple of years.

While some (including the commentators) may claim that it’s time for Donaire to hang them up, this fight wasn’t a deciding factor to that end in my opinion. It’s true “The Filipino Flash” isn’t what he once was, but he’s 35 and fights like a great 35-year-old. He made every round tough and competitive for Frampton, no small task when Carl is on fire like tonight, and most importantly, he didn’t get beaten up by any means. Nonito is still going to defeat many top featherweights despite it not being his natural weight class. In my opinion, he can certainly retire with honors, but he can also continue for a bit if he so desires.

The scorecards were surprisingly fair, and they were the same as my own: all three read 117-111 for Frampton.

After the bout, Frampton said, “Nonito Donaire is a dangerous motherf**er. I stuck to the game plan. My boxing was beautiful. In the eleventh round, I was definitely hurt. I think you could see it. I survived it—I’m not gonna lie.

“When I got close I needed to use my strength, which I done. I wasn’t really in the middle distance too much. When I was, I got caught. Donaire is a world class fighter. Credit to Jamie [Moore] for a great game plan.”

Frampton’s trainer, the former super welterweight British and European champion Jamie Moore, stated, “A fighter has certain habits, certain ways they move. I learned a lot more about [Carl] in this camp. Mentally, physically, all around. To carry that game plan out, It takes a lot of skill, patience, focus, and he carried it out to a tee. Donaire is a legendary fighter, maybe a little past his best but nevertheless he’s very, very dangerous. And he couldn’t afford to take any risks. He took a little one there for those last 30 seconds. I’m sure the fans would have loved the fight to have been that all the way through, but no risks, we’re here all the way to Windsor Park.”

Frampton’s promoter Frank Warren then stated that his fighter would be fighting at Windsor Park in August. The opponent is to be determined.

Hopefully whoever Frampton fights next gives him half the challenge Nonito Donaire did.

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  1. Balaamsass 04:06pm, 04/22/2018

    Frampton the same but different than Clarence “Bones” Adams who was the most beautiful fighter in the world when he was in there with Nestor Garza and in his first fight with Paulie Ayala where they cheated the fuk out of him! God! How they love to cheat in Vegas where the house edge always goes to the “money fighter”!

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