Nicholas Walters (left) hugs Nonito Donaire Jr. after the Jamaican defeated “The Filipino Flash” via a technical knockout in the 6th round at the StubHub Center in Carson, California on Oct. 18. (Photo by Chris Farina / Top Rank)
Special to the Filipino Reporter
Nonito Donaire Jr.’s lofty dreams of dominating another weight division suffered a devastating blow last Saturday in the hands of an opponent that they call “The Axe Man.”
Donaire Jr. (33-3, 21 KOs), a five division champion, failed in his effort to defend his World Boxing Association Super Featherweight crown against fellow champ and unbeaten Nicholas Walters (25-0, 21 KOs) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Walters, 28, of Montego Bay, Jamaica, predicted a knockout in the buildup of this fight, and did just that.
He sent the Filipino superstar to the canvass twice, once in the 3rd round courtesy of a vicious uppercut and the other by a shot to the temple in the dying moments of the 6th round, which Donaire Jr. was unable to survive.
Donaire Jr. who was only down once in his career before this fight, was dazed and on unsteady legs after being knocked down in the 6th.
This prompted Referee Raul Caiz Jr. to halt the fight.
Hurt and bruised, the 31-year-old Filipino-American boxer quickly realized that the higher he goes up in weight, the bigger and stronger the opponents will be.
“I am sorry I fell short in my goal.”
Donaire Jr. apologized to his countrymen and fans during the post-fight interview.
“I thought I’d be good at this weight class as I am getting older. I’ve never, ever trained this hard. I know exactly what kind of punch and power and the person that he is in the ring. He came out as tough as I thought he would be. The size that he had over me, I couldn’t move. He was just amazing, he overwhelmed me and knocked the (expletive) out of me,” added Donaire Jr.
Walters became the WBA’s king of the featherweights and the 126 pound division’s newest star after his impressive victory against one of the most heralded fighters in the lower weight classes and the second most popular boxer out of the Philippines.
The Jamaican knockout artist acknowledged the Filipino’s accomplishments and skills, calling him one of his favorite fighters.
He admitted he got hurt by Donaire Jr.’s trademark left hook in the 2nd round but he recovered and eventually dominated until the knockout.
“He caught me with a few shots in the early round. His power and his speed, it was good, it was great. I enjoyed the fight. I thanked him also. I thanked Donaire for giving the opportunity to fight one of the best and give me the opportunity so I can display my talent in HBO and to the world,” said Walters.
And while Walters is celebrating in front of the HBO cameras and the world, a humbled former champion, the Philippines’ second most popular fighter next to Manny Pacquiao, quickly accepted his fate inside that ring last Saturday night.
“I have to go back to the drawing board. I know that I cannot compete with guys like Walters,” admitted Donaire Jr., who stated that he will consult with wife Rachel if he’ll retire or fight at a lower weight.
Walters and Donaire Jr. were both gracious in victory and defeat, acknowledged each other’s effort in the ring.
Both wished each other well after their tenacious fight.
“You’re my favorite fighter now,” Donaire Jr. told Walters and the new champion and star embraced his fallen foe.