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Rigondeaux frustrates, outpoints Donaire

Guillermo Rigondeaux, left, lands a punch on Nonito Donaire during a junior featherweight title boxing match at Radio City Music Hall in New York Sunday, April 14. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

MANILA, Philippines – Cuban fighter Guillermo Rigondeaux spent the entire night frustrating Nonito Donaire with his slickness, hammering out a unanimous decision victory to become the WBO and WBA super bantamweight champion during their unification showdown at the Radio City Music Hall in New York today.

Rigondeaux survived a 10th round knockdown after Donaire caught him with a booming overhand right during an exchange, then cut the Filipino-American in the final round to pocket the fight.

“I prepared myself and it all showed today,” Rigondeaux said in a post-fight interview.

“People doubted that I won’t show up in the fight and that I would lose. But today I proved it – I’m the best 122-pounder in the world,” he added.

The scores were 114-113, 115-112 and 116-111 for Rigondeaux, who showed his boxing skills that were honed by an extensive amateur background as a member of the Cuban national boxing team.

The fight started out – and mostly turned out to be – as a chess match, with both fighters wary of each other. Rigondeaux rocked Donaire in the first round and continued to be elusive as the latter kept pressing the action.

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Donaire spent the entire fight stalking Rigondeaux, who was content to cut off the ring while throwing occasional counters to earn the rounds.

“It was close. I don’t think he won the fight… I want a rematch. But he did well,” said Donaire, who nursed a cut in the right eye after getting tagged with a straight left by Rigondeaux in the 12th round.

“It was stupid. I got careless and got caught,” added Donaire. “We made a mistake. I made a mistake. I didn't study the fight, and I should've."

The victory improved Rigondeaux's record to 12-0, with 8 KOs. Donaire, meanwhile, saw his 12-year, 30-fight winning streak come to a halt and suffered just the second loss of his professional career. His record is now 31-2, with 20 KOs.

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