By John J. Raspanti
In the end, the key was speed.
Carl “The Jackal” Frampton (25-1, 14 KOs) used clever boxing and speed of foot to win a unanimous decision over Nonito Donaire (38-5, 24 KOs) Saturday night at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Ireland.
All three ringside judges scored the fight 117-111 for Frampton.
Maxboxing also had Frampton the winner by a 116-112 tally.
The first round was all about respect. Donaire, with a reach advantage of a few inches, landed some good punches to the body. Frampton jabbed and also went to the body.
In round two, Frampton, 31, went to work. He backed Doniare into the ropes and fired combinations. A right caused some swelling under Donaire’s left eye. Donaire fought back with an uppercut, but Frampton landed more shots in the stanza.
In rounds three and four, Frampton stabbed Donaire with jabs and crisp right hands. Donaire, 35, was stalking but couldn’t rock—Frampton was beating him to the punch. He snapped off more jabs to the body and head.
The capable Frampton kept up his sharp work in the next few rounds. He bounced on his toes and moved to his left. His faster punches were keeping Donaire off balance.
Donaire marched forward and landed a couple of uppercuts. They definitely got Frampton’s attention. Frampton connected with two right hands and avoided Donaire’s hook.
Frampton’s on point boxing continued in round seven. He clobbered Donaire with a left. Donaire landed an uppercut that seemed to bother Frampton. “The Jackal” fought back with a number of blows, but Donaire’s power can always change a fight.
It almost did in round 11.
Frampton had the edge in rounds eight and nine. He used his faster feet to pop inside and connect—and get away from Donaire’s shots. Frampton’s right did more damage to Donaire’s left eye.
Donaire was way behind on the scorecards with three rounds left in the fight. His face was bruised and bloody. He chased Frampton in round 10, needing a mistake, but Frampton shucked and jived - and popped Donaire in the mouth with jabs.
The boxing lesson continued into round 11, until a minute was left in the stanza. After absorbing a right hand, Donaire finally connected with his vaunted left hook. Seconds later another one clipped Frampton - who staggered but was able to make to the bell.
Donaire had to go for broke in the last round. He needed a knockout to win. He landed a couple of good shots. Frampton fought back with a right, but Donaire knocked Frampton back with a left. Frampton was tired, and Donaire is always dangerous.
Frampton moved and tied up Donaire. In the last 10 seconds of the heat, the little tough guy from Belfast let his hands go. He clocked Donaire with punches until the bell rang ending the match.
“I stuck to the game plan,” said Frampton.” He’s a sharp puncher. I was definitely hurt in the 11th round, but I survived like champions do and fought back.”
With the victory, Frampton picked up something called the WBO interim featherweight title.