Last night in Carson, California we saw a rare-all Filipino world title fight as WBC champion Nonito Donaire (42-6, 28) took on mandatory challenged Reymart Gaballo (24-1, 20) in a bout to unify the WBC regular and interim titles.
On paper this looked really interesting. Donaire, at the age of 39, is ancient for a Bantamweight and to be fighting at world level at such an advanced age is amazing at the lower weights. On the other hand Gaballo had looked explosive, exciting and was coming into his physical prime. It seemed like maybe Gaballo would be the right man, in the right place at the right time, or alternatively Donaire was going to add another big win to his record as he continues to push back father time.
The opening round saw Donaire intelligent pressure his man, coming forward and making Gaballo fight off the back foot, something he has never been comfortable doing. Gaballo had moments where he came forward, and moments where he landed, but he looked constantly fearful of Donaire, and his timing and power. When Donaire landed it seemed to clearly take an effect on Gaballo, whilst Gaballo's shots never really phased Donaire. To his credit Gaballo was the quicker man, but and he had that edge, but that was neutralised by the timing of Donaire.
In round 2 Gaballo, usually an aggressive and exciting fighter, was forced to over-think, and look for single shots when Donaire made mistakes. It was clear that Gaballo was losing his self belief, and his in ring identity, well before Donaire clocked him with a big right hand 2 minutes into the round. A right hand that forced Gaballo to hold. Gaballo had moments boxing, moving, moving, moving and jabbing, but it felt like their was an inevitability about things, given how timid he was becoming and how Donaire's pressure was taking a toll.
Gaballo did have a good moment in round 3, getting Donaire's respect, and clearly having one of his best moments as he looked to kick start his effort, but it was merely a flash point in a round that quickly saw Donaire again force Gaballo on to the back foot, and again seemed to show the challenger being hurt. It was technical, tense, but the inevitability remained, and we got a reminder of that when Donaire landed some huge shots late in the round. It felt, sooner or later, like the power of Donaire was going to see off his man, unless Gaballo sold out and went for it.
Donaire, who seemed to get tuned in at the end of round 3, started round 4 well, landing several big shots in the opening minute. Gaballo tried to respond but his successes were limited, hitting the guard or missing completely. Donaire then seemed to go into seek an destroy mode, walking down Gaballo, forcing him to fire back and stand his ground. That left Gaballo in position for a brutal right hand to the mid section with dropped Gaballo. Gaballo did seem to get to his feet, but quickly dropped back to his knees, realising he was in far too much pain to continue.
Following the bout talk emerged of a rematch between Donaire and Naoya Inoue (21-0, 18) [井上 尚弥], who will defend his WBA "super" and IBF titles this coming Tuesday. Inoue and his promoter Hideyuki Ohashi have both mentioned the potential rematch, and if Inoue is successful next week it seems their focus will be on setting up this highly anticipated rematch.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.