Nicholas Walters and Nonito Donaire trading leather in Carson (Photo: Naoki Fukuda)
By Chris Robinson
On Saturday night, multi-division world titlist Nonito Donaire once again found himself in a compelling fight.
Facing off with rugged Jamaican bruiser and fellow champion Nicholas Walters, Donaire knew well ahead of time what kind of assignment he signed up for.
Fighting on HBO’s airwaves, Donaire and Walters traded heavy leather early in closed quarters and in the opening frames it appeared that the Fil-Am star was on the right track. A sharp left hand towards the close of the second appeared to shake Walters up a bit even.
But it wasn’t to be Donaire’s night.
For a fighter who we have seen in so many contrasting and challenging situations over the years, Donaire simply didn’t appear to have an answer for his younger foe as the rounds marched on.
Walters caught Donaire with a wicked right uppercut in the third round to register his first knockdown and from that point forward he appeared to be in control.
Donaire fought valiantly in the face of such an imposing opponent, and a nasty cut above his left eye didn’t help his cause. A crippling right hand from Walters in the closing seconds of the sixth round landed on Donaire’s temple, causing him to again him the deck.
Donaire rose on wobbly legs but the bout was wisely halted by referee Raul Caiz Jr.
As Walters and his team soaked up the victory, Donaire sat slumped in his stool, seemingly befuddled.
And while it’s understandable for Donaire to be so down during such a tough moment, what transpired next was a true show of class from both men as they made sure to give the other full respect for their effort.
“I never ever trained this hard,” Donaire reflected to Max Kellerman following his third pro defeat.
“I was away from my family,” Donaire added. “I know what type of a power puncher he is. The size he had over me; I couldn’t move. He overwhelmed me and beat the sh*t out of me.”
Having moved to Las Vegas in late 2009, I have been around Donaire often over the years, but not nearly as much in recent times.
And while I was initially disappointed to see Donaire suffer such a tough setback last night, the class he showed afterwards was a breath of fresh air.
No word yet on Donaire’s immediate future but he still seems to have a lot of fight left in him despite Saturday’s loss.
Chris Robinson can be reached at CRobinson@hustleboss.com