Anaheim, CA -- Despite the absence of fan favorite Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Top Rank's "In Harm's Way" fight card surprisingly lived up to the hype with several exciting bouts Saturday night, including an impressive performance from headliner Nonito Donaire.
In the days leading up to the fight, Chavez was forced to withdraw from his bout with Pawel Wolack due to a high fever. His withdrawal likely caused a drop in fan interest, as a relatively sparse crowd attended the event at the Honda Center.
Fortunately, promoter Bob Arum already had scheduled a co-main event featuring one of the world's elite boxers in Filipino-American star Nonito Donaire. For those in attendance and watching on pay per view, the Robert Garcia-trained Donaire did not disappoint, as he knocked out Ukranian Wladimir Sidorenko in the fourth round of their lopsided bout.
Here is how TheDailySportsHerald saw the fight, round by round:
Donaire established his dominance early, coming out with a fast-paced, furious assault on his opponent. That attack eventually led to a knockdown from a thunderous Donaire right hand. The one-sided round deserved a 10-8 score for Donaire even before the knockdown.
Donaire 10, Sidorenko 8
In the early part of this round, Donaire emerged looking to throw his jab and box more. However, Donaire then turned up the heat again before the bell, earning the round with his power.
Donaire 10, Sidorenko 9
In another one-sided round, Donaire put Sidorenko on the canvas once more with a vicious right hook that should put the rest of the division's fighters on notice. To his credit, Sidorenko got up quickly, but at this point in the fight, he offered little, if any, quality resistance.
Donaire 10, Sidorenko 8
Donaire again hit Sidorenko on the button with a right hand. The blow gave Sidorenko no choice but to take a knee, although from certain angles it looked like he fell from the shot. The referee stopped the fight with 1:48 left on the clock.
Final DSH Scorecard after 3 rounds: Donaire 30, Sidorenko 25
With the victory, Donaire secured his 24th consecutive win and improved to 25-1 with 17 KO's. He will next face Fernando Montiel in a bantamweight title bout February 19, 2011. Neither man is participating in the current Bantamweight Tournament set to begin on December 11, 2010.
Sidorenko, meanwhile, fell to 22-3-2 with the loss.
Following the bout, Donaire noted that he was highly "motivated" for his fight with Sidorenko. He then proclaimed that he should be mentioned among the top ten pound-for-pound boxers in the world, provided he "beats Fernando Montiel."
After seeing Donaire's effort Saturday night, this exciting fighter already might be worthy of such consideration right now.
Humberto Soto-Urbano Antillon
The final fight of the night featured Humberto Soto versus Urbano Antillon in a grueling 12-round fight for the WBC lightweight championship.
Soto's game plan was to use uppercuts to defend the rushing style of Antillon. The strategy proved quite effective, as Soto often ripped his opponent with three to four uppercuts at times in the early rounds. In addition, Soto was able to throw powerful, fast combinations that would stop Antillon in his tracks.
Antillon gave a spirited effort, but not enough to take the champion's belt. Soto prevailed via unanimous decision, a reasonable result considering that this writer's scorecard matched that of judge Marty Denkin, 115-112 for Soto.
Miguel Garcia-Olivier Lantchi
Undefeated and #1 IBF-ranked featherweight Miguel Angel "Mikey" Garcia, earned another win by knocking out Canadian Olivier Lantchi in the fifth round.
In the first round, Garcia only threw perhaps one right hand, but it was effective, buckling Lantchi.
But the most telling blow of the night was Garcia's left hook to the body. That weapon allowed him to eventually break down Lantchi and get the KO win.
Garcia (24-0, 20 KO's) informed The Daily Sports Herald following the bout that he had never seen Lantchi box prior to his fight. He also declared that he is "ready" as the mandatory challenger for Yuriorkis Gamboa, but that he also "wouldn't mind" stepping in the ring against Juan Manuel Lopez.
Jose Pinzon-Pawel Wolack
Chavez's scheduled opponent, who himself was a late addition to the card, put on a good show for the crowd by knocking out Pinzon in the seventh round.
By Jose Romero
Contributing Writer for TheDailySportsHerald.com