Quijano: Playing the power game-A A +A
Saturday, July 14, 2012
WHEN Lord John Emerich Acton coined the aphorism “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, he surely must have been referring to a different genus of power, and not the kind we love to discuss here, punching power.
But indulge me a bit if you will, for by Nonito Donaire Jr.’s admission, Lord Acton’s adage could have far-reaching implications even in the “sweet science”
DARCHINYAN. Circa 2005, an unknown Donaire vowed he would let Vic Darchinyan feel his power. Back then, it was incredulous.
Here was this young kid, whose elder brother had just been starched by Darchinyan, with less than 20 fights to his resume, talking about knocking out a mass murderer in the lower weight divisions with a fearsome record of 24 KOs in 28 fights with no defeats.
And then of course, we all know what happened. In the fifth round of a fight he was winning handily, Donaire floored “The Raging Bull” with the mother of all left hooks, separating him from his senses to earn a fifth-round KO.
From then on, Donaire went on a tear to become one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, and the apex predator in the lower weight classes.
STREAK. Post-Darchinyan, in his nascent rise to stardom, only four of Donaire’s next 11 opponents have survived to hear the final bell. Of the four, two suffered knockdowns.
Rafael Concepcion survived on account of his hardiness, while Omar Narvaez escaped by fighting scared.
In his most recent fight last Sunday, Jeffrey Mathebula also survived, but not after being knocked down in the fourth round.
It was a scintillating, dominating performance, yet even Donaire admits he relied too much on his power and that he strayed from the game-plan.
SEDUCTION. Ahhh., power. Apparently, even the kind that radiates from punches can be intoxicating, for after all, there is nothing more pleasing to fight fans than a highlight-reel knockout.
But in Nonito’s case, he wanted the knockout so bad, he didn’t allow it come to him.
In the first few rounds, he tried to go for the quick finish against the awkward Mathebula who was open for flush counters on account of his looping punches.
And indeed, in the fourth round he nailed his tall, lanky quarry with a left hook and down he fell like chopped timber.
In a news article yesterday, Donaire said the left hook that scored the knockdown wasn’t even at full torque: “I wasn’t even in good balance but that almost knocked him out. If I hit him like how I hit (Fernando) Montiel, he would never get up. But it’s hard because he’s tall and he was running away.”
Credit also Mathebula’s good conditioning and durability. Though he managed to get up woozier than an executive who had five martinis for lunch, he managed to hold on and survive the round.
Perhaps seduced by the thought that he could again deliver Mathebula to the canvas, Donaire never stopped trying to go for the abbreviated finish, but Mathebula survived anyhow.
BODY SHOTS. In his zealousness for the knockout, Donaire not only strayed from his game-plan, he also neglected to do some effective body work.
Though he claimed that Mathebula’s awkward stance and defensive posture made it difficult, he was clearly partial to head hunting, even though the lofty Mathebula was open for some nasty digs to the midsection.
Nonito will always have that bone-crunching power with him, but he doesn’t have to play the power card all the time. He is a multi-talented ambidextrous fighter, with superb counter-punching skills.
The moment he relies too much on his power, he abandons the other facets of his game which could have been more useful in disposing of a fighter like Mathebula who wasn’t even in his class.
VERBATIM. “I fell in love with the power when I knocked him down, I thought I could do it again, instead of setting it up like what (trainer) Robert (Garcia) told me.”--Nonito Donaire (sports.inquirer.net)
LAST ROUNDS. Are on Atty. Kenneth Yap, Dr. Nimfa Tero and my next UFC welterweight champion of the world, Rodan Benjamin Jericho Navarro-Quijano. Happy birthday and cheers!
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 15, 2012.