Bantamweight Nonito Donaire kept hold of his WBC and WBO belts last night at the WaMu Theater in New York's famed Madison Square Garden with a 12 round points verdict against undefeated WBO super flyweight champ Omar Andres Narvaez.
The first round essentially provided the framework of every stanza that followed as Donaire threw punches that were largely blocked by Narvaez, who threw very little back in return.
The much shorter southpaw Narvaez consistently walked forward behind a high guard that rarely let a punch through and was successful with a lightning quick jab whenever he let one go, but that was a rare occurrence.
Things didn't heat up until the fourth when Narvaez started to mix in some lefts but was caught by Donaire with two rights in quick succession that put the challenger briefly off balance but unhurt.
During the middle rounds, Donaire starts to throw long right hands to the body, the only shots which he can consistently land during the fight but he does get some warnings from referee Benjy Esteves Jr for straying low at times.
The sixth sees Donaire try to force engagements and there is good two-way action at the end of the frame with both fighters landing hard hooks.
While Donaire's constant punching isn't resulting in many scoring blows, it is both winning the rounds on activity alone and keeping the challenger from getting in position to throw the left hand.
Things are pretty much locked in the stalemate of Donaire throwing and Narvaez blocking until the champion just starts winging punches in the later rounds, most of which Narvaez slips with his uncanny defense but there is good two way action at the end of the tenth when both fighters score with left hands.
A clearly frustrated Donaire steps it up in second half of round but aside from a couple body shots, has everything blocked. Narvaez scores with the jab and managed to outbox Donaire when the pair brawled at the closing seconds.
The twelfth sees Donaire bouncing around with hands down, looking for a last chance to land a big shot but it never comes. Narvaez goes on his only sustained bit of offense when he chases Donaire and lands reaching left hands.
When the bell finally rings to end the seemingly endless affair, Donaire swept all the cards 120-108, retaining the titles and going to 27-1 (18).
Narvaez loses for the first time, dropping to 35-1-2 (19).
Chief support was provided by a NABF featherweight title defense by Mikey Garcia, 27-0 (23), who dropped veteran Juan Carlos Martinez, 19-13-1 (7), three times enroute to stoppage victory at 2:40 of the fourth.