Nonito Donaire raises both his fist after defeating Omar Andres...

Nonito Donaire raises both his fist after defeating Omar Andres Narvaez during their championship bout. (Oct. 22, 2011) Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

WBC and WBO bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire wanted to use his Madison Square Garden debut to show everyone that he is no Filipino Flash in the pan, but Argentine challenger Omar Narvaez refused to cooperate, going into a shell as tight as a clam. Absent the anticipated fireworks Donaire usually produces with his punching power, he had to content himself with pitching a shutout to win a unanimous decision.

All three judges scored it 120-108, giving Donaire every round. He was a 119-109 winner on Newsday's card. It was only the second time in his past 11 fights that Donaire (27-1, 18 KOs) was forced to go the distance, but Narvaez (35-1-2, 19 KOs) was a two-time champion at flyweight and super flyweight and the loss was his first.

Donaire apologized to the fans for failing to get the knockout. "I did my best," he said to the crowd over the public address system. "It didn't come out the way we wanted. I have respect for him, but he didn't come to fight. I hurt him in the [fourth] round, and after that, he was in his shell. I tried to open myself up because I don't mind getting hit, but I couldn't get him to open up."

Referring to another non-action fight involving a fellow Filipino, Donaire got a laugh when he said, "Now I know how Manny Pacquiao felt with [Joshua] Clottey. The guy had that shell."

According to CompuBox Inc., Donaire threw 666 punches but connected on only 99, including 85 power punches. Narvaez threw only 299 punches, landing just 74, including only 33 power shots.

The victory positioned Donaire to likely move up to challenge WBA super bantamweight champion Jorge Arce early next year. If he can gain that 122-pound title, promoter Bob Arum said the next step would be a fight against WBC super bantam champ Toshiaki Noshioka in May.

In the early going, Donaire tried to move left against his southpaw opponent, and Narvaez worked hard to cut him off with his footwork. Donaire pressed the action and landed more frequently, but Narvaez scored with two sharp lefts at the end of the first round. It turned into a bullfight midway through the third as Donaire charged in with three quick power punches, all of which caught nothing but air as the 5-3 Narvaez ducked under and all but said "Ole!" on his way to winning that round.

There was no escape route for Narvaez in the fourth when Donaire shot a quick right down the pipe to Narvaez's nose. Trying to capitalize, Donaire followed up with two more power rights, but Narvaez shook it off. Donaire maintained the pressure in the fifth but Narvaez stayed in his shell to avoid harm.

Growing more comfortable in the sixth, Donaire used his size advantage to push Narvaez back against the ropes for a left-right and then landed three lightning combinations toward the end of the round.

Narvaez wasn't hurt, but he wasn't able to fire back, either. It was more of the same in the seventh and eighth, and a few in the jam-packed crowd of 4,425 booed Narvaez's defensive tactics. But Donaire's reach forced him to stay outside or risk running into power combos.

In the ninth, Donaire connected with a right early and then started to land occasional body shots before ending with a flurry on the ropes. Many of Donaire's punches bounced off Narvaez's gloves, but he controlled the 10th to such an extent that one fan yelled to Narvaez, "Hey, Omar, stop hiding!"

By the 12th round, the crowd wasn't even that kind to Narvaez, taunting him with a vulgar chant as Donaire continued to fire away at the Argentine speed bag.

When it was over, Narvaez took his only serious shot at Donaire, saying, "He never hurt me. I didn't think he was such a big deal."

If that was the case, maybe Narvaez should have tried to win.

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