PHOTO: Chris Farina/Top Rank

THE career of Nonito Donaire, not long ago one of the most glittering in boxing, is in tatters after he lost his WBA featherweight title to Nicholas Walters in six rounds. The showdown, at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California, was wild and entertaining but Donaire was ultimately outgunned.

Donaire enjoyed success in the second round, when he hurt his rival with the kind of left hooks that used to knock out smaller men as he collected titles in lower divisions.

Walters, though, proved his prowess as a featherweight puncher when he dropped Donaire in the third round with an uppercut. It was the first time the US-based Filipino had ever tasted the canvas and, bruising quickly, rose to engage in toe-to-toe warfare.

“We worked hard for this victory knowing we were fighting Donaire,” Walters said. “Donaire is a super great champion. I know I have to respect him and that’s what I did. He caught me with a few shots. He has power and speed but I enjoyed the fight. I thank Donaire for giving me the opportunity.”

The champion’s features eroded further in the fourth as Walter’s bombs exploded. And in round six, Donaire plummeted head first after a huge right hand landed on the side of his face. He gamely dragged his battered bones upright but he was in no condition to continue.

“I’ve got to go back to the drawing board,” said Donaire who has won titles from flyweight to featherweight. “I know I can’t compete with guys like Walters. I succumbed to size and power inside the ring. He beat the s*** out of me.”

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