Cuba's Guillermo Rigondeaux beat Nonito Donaire by a unanimous decision on Saturday to retain his WBA junior featherweight world title and hand the Filipino his first loss in 12 years. Two-time Olympic gold medal winner Rigondeaux recovered from an earlier knockdown to win the 12-round bout at Radio City Music Hall on all three judges' scorecards, 114-113, 115-112 and 116-111.
The 32-year-old Rigondeaux remained undefeated as a pro, improving to 12-0 with eight knockouts. He also took Donaire's WBO version of the belt. The Cuban defector Rigondeaux went down from a left hook in the 10th round but dominated the 12th. Thirty-year-old Donaire came into the bout riding a brilliant 30-fight win streak. He dropped to 31-2 with 20 knockouts. Donaire's only previous loss was March 10, 2001 in his second pro fight.
He said he was sorry after the fight for the way he fought in the final rounds.
"I apologize," Donaire said. "I wanted to deliver. During the last two rounds, I got stupid. I didn't really feel his power until that last round. I got carried away because I wanted to take him out so bad and I fell in love with that. I have much respect for Rigondeaux for the beautiful boxing that he gave me. We just have to go back to the drawing board. There was a lot of pressure, to be honest with you for the last three fights I needed surgery on my shoulder. I tore ligaments. But no excuses. I didn't do my job. I didn't use my jab and go to my left. I just wanted to take him out and I felt that power. I have no excuse. He beat me tonight. I though it was a very close fight. We have to be better from this point on. We want to go up a division because I was struggling to make this weight, but I would like to rematch with him."