By Jake Donovan
The season finale for ‘Boxeo Telemundo’ saw a pair of semi-retired fighters return after separate three-year hiatuses. Youth was served in the end, as former title contender Glenn Donaire forced ex-strawweight titlist Alex “Nene” Sanchez to quit on his stool after eight rounds.
The official time was 3:00 of the eighth round of their main event, which aired live from the Kissimmee (FL) Civic Center, a favorite venue of the long-running Telemundo series.
The 38-year old Sanchez was surprisingly holding his own in the early going, in fact controlling the tempo for about a round-and-a-half. Donaire was constantly beaten to the punch by the former strawweight titlist, who found a home for his left hooks whenever he was able to work inside.
Donaire flipped the script midway through the second, round, drilling Sanchez with a right hand that caused the Puerto Rican to touch both gloves to the canvas. The referee was slow to intervene, and Donaire proceeded with a ‘play the whistle’ mentality, nailing a defenseless Sanchez twice more before an official knockdown was ruled.
Sanchez beat the count, but found himself on the canvas – and flat on his back – moments later when Donaire survived a furious exchange to connect with a home run shot. There was a moment where Sanchez appeared glassy-eyed and unsure if he wanted to continue, but managed to beat the count just as the bell rang to end the round, saving himself from further punishment.
Two-way action resumed in the third, but suddenly Sanchez’ attack was far less intimidating. Donaire fearlessly stood toe-to-toe with the diminutive veteran whenever the situation called for it, and spent the rest of his time jabbing and boxing from the outside.
The latter scenario was how the next several rounds would play out, with Sanchez beginning to look every bit like like a middle-aged fighter who went three years between fights and seven-plus years between wins. His luck changed up late in the sixth when he was able to corner Donaire and initiate an exchange, but came after giving away most of the round to that point.
Still, it made for a momentum builder as he came out more motivated for the seventh. Donaire’s activity level decreased, while Sanchez began to target the body. A few shots began to stray too low, for which he was warned by the referee, complete with being patted on the head by the third man.
Any sense of security gained by Sanchez was quickly taken away by Donaire, who soundly resumed control in the eighth round. Constant movements and long right hands were enough for the Fil-Am to dictate the pace and tempo, with Sanchez failing to come up with a response.
Apparently it was enough to convince the old man that he had no business fighting any more, or even returning to the sport. Sanchez remained seated on his stool prior to the start of the ninth round, leaving Donaire to rejoice in his corner in celebrating his first win in nearly four years.
Donaire improves to 18-4-1 (10KO) with the win in his first fight back since a controversially scored junior flyweight title fight loss to Ulises “Archie” Solis more than three years ago. Donaire announced his return to the sport a few weeks ago, signing a deal with veteran promoter Don King, a story that was first reported by Boxingscene’s own Ryan Maquinana.
The veteran promoter had plenty of say in what went on in the career of Sanchez once upon a time. Those days are long gone, as well as any feasible chance of Sanchez ever again making noise in the sport. The badly faded ex-champ falls to 31-8-1 (21KO), with a four-fight losing streak extending back seven years.
In a televised swing bout, Luis Franco (11-0, 7KO) looked sensational in scoring a second round knockout of Leopoldo Gonzalez (11-5-1, 7KO). The official time was 1:29 of round two.
Luis Torres (2-1-2, 1KO) scored a knockdown in every round en route to a third round stoppage of journeyman Juan Aguirre (5-8-1, 0KO). The bout was stopped after the third knockdown, when the referee realized the fight had no chance of turning around.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]