Three Punch Combo: Notes on Daniel Jacobs, Nonito Donaire and More

THREE PUNCH COMBO – This past Saturday, Daniel Jacobs (34-2, 19 KO’s) won a hard-fought 12-round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Maciej Sulecki (26-1, 10 KO’s). The win for Jacobs (pictured on the right) solidified his position as the third best middleweight in the world and put him in line for a big fight. But the problem for Jacobs, at least in the near term, is that there may not be a big fight out there for him.

The biggest loser from the cancellation of Golovkin-Alvarez is Jacobs. It may not happen right away but at some point Golovkin and Alvarez will have their rematch. There is just too much money to be made by both parties. But pushing back the rematch hurts Jacobs in that he was the next logical opponent for the winner of Golovkin-Alvarez. Until the rematch happens, neither Golovkin nor Alvarez will take a big risk inside the ring. And Jacobs is unquestionably a big risk.

So with Golovkin and Alvarez out for the time being, what are Jacobs’ other big fight possibilities? Billy Joe Saunders holds a belt at middleweight and is coming off a big win on HBO against David Lemieux. The issue here though is that Saunders is promoted by Frank Warren. Warren and Jacobs’s promoter Eddie Hearn are heated rivals. Could they come together to do business for a big middleweight fight? It is not out of the question, but will be very difficult to pull together.

Jacobs has made some noise about fighting Jermall Charlo. But similar to the Saunders scenario, the politics involved may be too insurmountable to make this fight. Jacobs has a contract with HBO. Charlo is advised by Al Haymon. HBO is still not actively doing business with Haymon. Could HBO crack that door open? Yes, but they have not yet done so despite the fact that in the past even bigger fights could have been made on their network involving Haymon clients.

And then there is Demetrius Andrade. There is no political divide to keep Andrade and Jacobs from meeting. The problem here is the risk/reward factor for Jacobs. Andrade is a slick skilled southpaw. He also does not bring to the table big time marketability. It is a big risk for Jacobs with a low reward.

So where does Jacobs turn next? Unless political lines can be crossed or HBO is willing to spend big bucks for an Andrade fight, it will likely be someone similar to his last two opponents, Luis Arias or the aforementioned Sulecki.

Nonito Donaire – A Slam Dunk First Ballot Hall of Famer

Last Saturday in Belfast, Nonito Donaire (38-5, 24 KO’s) dropped a decision to Carl Frampton (25-1, 14 KO’s) in a 12-round featherweight contest. Donaire showed flashes of the old “Filipino Flash” in this bout but ultimately succumbed to the skills of a younger and talented fighter. Though his career as an elite level fighter appears to be done, Donaire was one special fighter in his prime.

Much like Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, Donaire’s best years came long before he was regularly fighting on HBO. It was 2007 when Donaire burst on the scene with an upset knockout victory against then undefeated flyweight champion Vic Darchinyan. At that time, it was Darchinyan who was a darling of the smaller weight classes and a pound for pound entrant. But Donaire’s speed and counterpunching ability were on full display that night in a career making performance that culminated in a spectacular one punch knockout in round five with the left hook.

Between the Darchinyan win and his first appearance on HBO in 2011, Donaire would fight seven times. They were all fights against very good fighters and six of the seven were knockout wins. These were performances, likely unseen by the casual fan, showcased the elite level hand speed and power that Donaire possessed.

When revisiting these performances, one thing that also stands out was his incredible counterpunching. While most experts rate Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Juan Manuel Marquez as the era’s best counterpunchers, Donaire certainly was not far behind. In these days, his precision timing combined with his hand speed made him one great counterpuncher. He would bait his opposition to throw, often holding his hands low, and then blister them with either a volley of fast handed shots or that lethal counter left hook.

Donaire’s best days were during this era when he defended the flyweight crown he won from Darchinyan three times and then went on to capture an interim title at 115. In 2012, Donaire was the unanimous selection for Fighter of the Year, remarkable considering that he was fighting multiple weight classes above his peak as well as tilting toward the downside of his career. The “Filipino Flash” was truly one of the era’s best fighters and when his time comes should be a lock first ballot Hall of Famer.

A Clear Example Of Why Boxing Needs Instant Replay

The subject of using instant replay in boxing has been debated for years. Some believe we should use the technology we have available to get certain things correct. Others feel that using instant replay could only lead to more issues and controversy in the sport.

In my opinion, instant replay should be used when available to ensure certain important rulings are correct. For example, whether or not a knockdown should or should not have been counted could play a significant role in determining the outcome of a fight.

On April 19th, undefeated 130-pound prospect Lamont Roach took a step up in class to face veteran former world title challenger Orlando Cruz in a scheduled 10-round fight. The styles of the two made for a very tactical and close fight through the first eight rounds. In round nine, Roach would land a short crisp left hook that wobbled the legs of Cruz. Cruz then tried to grab hold of Roach but was unable to do so and fell to the canvas. Inexplicably, referee Luis Pabon ruled this not a knockdown though clearly it was the impact of the punch that caused Cruz to fall.

Cruz would use veteran tactics to survive the remainder of the round and the fight would end up going to distance. One judge had Roach comfortably in front by a tally of 97-93. Another judge sided with Cruz 96-94. The third judge had it 95-95 making this fight a majority draw.

If the knockdown had been correctly ruled, Roach would have received an extra point in round nine. This would not have impacted the outcome on the first two cards but on the third card that extra point would have given Roach a split decision victory.

Instant replay could have easily and quickly overturned the ruling of Pabon. The video evidence was clear and indisputable. By not using the technology available, Lamont Roach was robbed of keeping an unblemished professional record.

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