San Leandro-based fighter Nonito Donaire made a successful debut at junior featherweight Saturday evening as he won a split decision over Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. Donaire won 117-110 on two of the three scorecards, with the third judge scoring the fight 115-112 for Vazquez in a rather curious decision.
Donaire claimed the vacant WBO super bantamweight title with the win, but it was not without a cost. As the broadcasters mentioned in the 12th round, Donaire injured his hand at some point during the fight. Initially they said it was his right hand, but after the fight when Donaire removed his gloves, there was blood on his left hand. Reports indicate the injury may have occurred in the second or third round, which would explain why Donaire was not going to the body more, but rather aiming for the quick knockout.
After the fight, Top Rank's VP of Boxing Ops Carl Moretti tweeted out a picture of the hand after the fight (h/t Bad Left Hook). Full details of the injury will likely take a day or two to come out, but it seems pretty clear the Filipino Flash had to gut out a tough injury to win this fight. Even though Donaire was the superior talent, a hand injury can easily balance out any fight, as we saw in the middle rounds of this one.