Nonito Donaire of the Philippines will be taking on Puerto Rico’s Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. on Feb. 4th for the WBO’s vacant Super Bantamweight crown at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Donaire is generally regarded to be in the top five pound-for-pound boxers in the world and will be the favourite heading into the bout.
The 27-year-old Vasquez (21-1, 18 KOs) is the former WBO (World Boxing Organization) super bantamweight champion and son of ring legend Wilfredo Vasquez and should be used to the big-fight atmosphere. He realizes the 29-year-old Donaire is a great boxer, but also knows his opponent’s not invincible. He said he doesn’t feel any pressure heading into the fight and feels he’s capable of pulling off an upset, especially since this will be Donaire’s first fight in the 122 lb. super bantamweight division.
Donaire (27-1, 18 KOs), a southpaw, has been very successful in every weight division he’s fought in up to now and has won world titles in the 112 lb., 115 lb. , and 118 lb. divisions. It doesn’t look like Donaire’s going to hang around the super bantamweight division for long either as he’s talking about moving up to the 126 lb. featherweight division soon.
Donaire became an overnight star in the world of boxing when he knocked out unbeaten Vic Darchinyan about five years ago on a nationally-televised fight in America. Since that fight, he’s rarely lost a round in the ring. His only loss came back in 2001 when he lost a five-round decision in his second pro bout.
As you can see by their records these two are pretty evenly matched and both carry a lot of power. Vasquez could have the advantage since he’s used to the weight limit. At 5-foot-5 he’s the same height as Donaire, but has a slight two-inch reach disadvantage. Both fighters will enter the ring coming off of relatively easy wins in their last fights three months ago. Vasquez’s only loss came last May when he was stopped in the final round by Jorge Arce. Vasquez had scored a knockdown earlier in the fight and was even with Arce on the judges’ scorecards when the bout was halted.
Vasquez has improved quite a bit over the years whereas Donaire has always been recognized as one of boxing’s potential stars. Donaire has been in a class of his own in the lower weight divisions and he knocked out Fernando Montiel in the third round in his toughest test since the Darchinyan fight. Vasquez was expected to beat an ageing Arce, but isn’t expected to win this fight, so he should be more relaxed.
The ability to take a punch is going to be the key to this fight since they can both definitely land some great power shots. This is where Donaire has the edge. However, the Filipino can’t be complacent as Vasquez has the ability to steal rounds with his energetic style. Donaire has a bit too much skill for Vasquez though and he’ll likely win this bout by knockout in the first half of the 12-round fight.