The bout was supposed to be a mismatch, in fact some bookies in the UK had Donaire at almost unbackable odds. Despite the feeling of a mismatch the fight actually ended up being very competitive, thrilling and a bout that really told a story that showed what makes boxing such a special sport.
The bout began like many expected. Donaire was simply too good, too smart, too fast, too accurate and seemingly had too much of everything. The first round saw the landing a monstrous right hand to effectively welcome Juarez into the fight and followed it up with a number of massive right hands up top and left hooks to the body. It looked like the story of the fight was going to be a very short one and it seemed like Juarez simply had no idea what to do with Donaire.
Rounds 2 and 3 were much like the opening round. They were all Donaire with the Filipino seemingly in total control, he couldn't miss and it seemed like Juarez was certain to be stopped. The much vaunted power of Donaire was connecting time and time again, and the shots were clean every time. The only real variance came in the final 30 seconds of round 3, when Juarez finally managed to have some success of his own, albeit only limited success.
Having clearly taken the first 3 rounds Donaire seemed to grow and in round 4 he continued to land right hands. The success of Donaire's clean shots seemed to stagger Juarez who went down as the fighters seemed to tangle feet. It was ruled a knockdown, but was a controversial call. It seemed however that it was going to be incident and not long afterwards Juarez was down again, a legitimate and painful looking knockdown. The second knockdown seemed to hurt Juarez who came out fighting, as if he was wanting to go down swinging rather than just take a loss. The opportunities that Juarez gave allowed Donaire to land further bombs but the Mexican saw off the storm and seemed to win a mini battle with himself. It was a 10-7 round but it was a round that had plenty of positives for Juarez, who had proven just how tough he was.
In round 5 Donaire looked for the kill, he again landed some bombs but they didn't have they effect they had had earlier in the fight. Instead they seemed to spur on Juarez who, near the end of the round, cornered Donaire and got off with some serious offensive work with the Filipino on the ropes. It was a sign that Juarez was there to fight, and wasn't merely there to make up the numbers. He had gone through hell early on and was now ready to pay it back.
The payback from Juarez continued in round 6 as Donaire began the round on his toes, moving but not punching, hit output dropped off completely whilst Juarez moved through the gears and began to cut the ring off, forcing Donaire on to the ropes. It wasn't a clear and decisive round, but it was a notable round, with Donaire slipping late and seemingly injuring his ankle. His corner went to work on it, and did seem like it was going to be dramatic, though it never seemed to clearly effect the fight following the slip.
With Donaire clearly slowing in terms of his output Juarez began to turn it on and round 7 was a massive round for Juarez who regularly pinned Donaire against the ropes and unloaded with flurry after flurry. In the first 90 seconds the action was all Juarez with the Mexican really forcing the issue whilst the second half of the round saw Donaire having some success, but not enough with Juarez continuing to out work him.
Juarez continued to build on his success and in round 8 he continued to press the action. He was forced to eat some counters, some huge counters, but on the whole it was the work of the Mexican that left a lasting impression. The aggressive work of Juarez seemed to be helping him claw his way back into the fight and seemed to really be taking it's toll on Donaire who marking up and being forced to fight Juarez's fight. Despite the complexion of the fight changing it seemed as though Juarez had too much ground to make up, though he wasn't going to just give up.
Rounds 9 and 10 continued in much the same vein, with Juarez forcing the action with an insane work rate and intense pressure. He had mixed success, but in both rounds he managed to get Donaire on the ropes and unload with the Filipino becoming more and more ragged by the round. So ragged was Donaire that it seemed he was knocked down in round 10, though the referee called it a slip. Despite becoming ragged Donaire was landing his right hand counter at will, though it had no effect at all on the Mexican who seemed to just reset himself and come right back at the Filipino star, who must have wondered what it would take to stop his 24 year old foe.
Although rounds 9 and 10 were Juarez's rounds he was still going to need several KD's, if not a KO, to win and he seemed to know it as he came our fast in round 11. That lead to a number of brilliant exchanges with Juarez forcing Donaire to the ropes and Donaire firing back in a flurries of shots, as the two traded, standing toe to toe. The action was dictated, again, by Juarez but Donaire was being forced to hold his own. The round was brilliant and both men deserve credit for their efforts, though the round will quickly be forgotten
The reason round 11 will be forgotten is because the two then gave us a round of the year contender, in fact they may well have given us the best round of the year.
Juarez came out fast and immediately had Donaire on the ropes and began unloading his shots. Donaire eventually got some space and freedom but his respite was short as Juarez charged back in, almost immediate. The assault from Juarez continued until thee was about a minute left. It seemed like Donaire was running on fumes, and then suddenly Donaire fired back stopping Juarez in his tracks. The Mexican regrouped and was tagged again before the two traded solid shots to the bell. It was breath taking, jaw dropping and and all action.
By the final bell it seemed like the early success of Donaire was easy to forget. He had been dragged through hell for the final 6 rounds of the fight. The work of Juarez, whilst not the cleanest, was eye catching, and it seemed that overall Juarez had certainly done enough to make the cards at least close. Sadly the effort wasn't really shown on the cards which were 116-110, twice and 117-109, all in favour of Donaire, who reclaimed the WBO Super Bantamweight title.
Whilst the Filipino got the win, we dare say it's come at a cost and it's unlikely that he'll be the same fighter, in fact the punishment taken here will have aged Donaire significantly and the 33 year old may have just used his “final” good performance in what was a very tough, exciting and brilliant fight.