Home Depot Center, Carson, California— Not even the rising star of Nonito Donaire (30-1, 19 KOs) could overcome the passive indifference of a world class fighter unwilling to engage. WBO/IBF champ Donaire still won, still stopped Toshiaki Nishioka, still swept every round before the ninth round stoppage, but was never allowed to shine by the Japanese star, who was playing prevent defense all night.
Nishioka, who was ranked #1 in the junior featherweight division, held his right hand high, negating Donaire’s left hook, but never let his hands ago until he was dropped in the sixth round. Even then, Donaire was clearly in control and never came close to losing a minute of any part of any round.
In the ninth round, Donaire, with his back against the ropes, dropped Nishioka with a straight right hand. Nishioka beat the count and continued fighting for a couple of seconds before his corner called for the end of the contest. With the decision to end the boutt, the Japanese contingent at the Home Depot Center ended their fighter’s passive performance with an appropriate whimper.
Meanwhile, on the undercard–
Brandon Rios (31-0-1, 23 KOs) may be a truly unlikeable human being for many, but there’s no denying the fact that he can sure deliver some entertaining battles. Against Mike Alvarado (33-1, 23 KOs) in his official debut at the junior welterweight limit, he proved that he not only could deliver entertainment, but that he could also hang with the elites of the jam-packed junior welterweight division.
Alvarado came out boxing and trying to use his skill advantage, but every attempt at boxing eventually wound up in an inside skirmish.
After six and a half rounds of back and forth action, an overhand right from Rios buzzed Alvarado and sent him against the ropes. Smelling blood, Rios then went for the kill, landing two more overhand rights that prompted referee Pat Russell to rescue a nearly helpless Alvarado with just over a minute left in the seventh round.
Following the bout, talk will revolve around Rios’ next step up, but the real talk should be about doing this again.