Donaire was composed and patient in the first five rounds, as he probed for openings to land his vaunted left hook. When the opportunity presented itself in the sixth, the California-based Filipino did not require a second invitation. His thunderous honey punch cannoned off Young’s jaw, leaving the American down and out at 2-37.
As mightily impressive as the finish was, Donaire’s route to the final has undoubtedly been less treacherous than it first looked on paper when the quarter-finals were drawn last year. The 36-year-old got past Ryan Burnett in fortuitous circumstances in November, when the previously unbeaten Northern Irishman was forced out with a slipped disc in his back after only four rounds.
This win gave Donaire the WBA bantam belt, which he was set to defend in a unification fight against WBO boss Tete, before the skilful South African suffered a shoulder injury which ruled him out. In stepped Young, 30, at the last minute – an acceptable replacement for Tete at such a late stage, but someone who had nonetheless been comprehensively outpointed by Reymart Gaballo just over a year ago.