- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Pound-for-pound star Nonito Donaire said that the pain in his left hand during his decision win against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. on Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio was unbearable.
Donaire, who had relinquished his two bantamweight belts and won a vacant junior featherweight title against Vazquez, had injured his hand somewhere between the second and fourth rounds. And when he knocked down Vazquez with a pair of left hands in the ninth round, he hurt it even worse. When his gloves were cut off after the fight, his left hand was covered in blood and he feared that his hand was broken.
But Donaire's worst fears were not realized. The hand is OK.
Donaire visited a hand specialist this week in Los Angeles and told ESPN.com on Wednesday night that "everything looked good and my hand is OK."
Donaire said that X-rays on Tuesday came back negative for fractures and that an MRI exam on Wednesday showed no serious damage either.
"My hand is swollen and there is damaged soft tissue, but everything is good," Donaire said. "The doctor said I need three or four weeks to get the proper healing and then I can go."
Seeing blood covering a fighter's hand after a match is unusual, but Donaire said he was told that the reason was because his hand had swelled so much that the skin popped open as he continued to hit Vazquez.
"The blood was because I popped a little vein in there, near the knuckle area, but it was nothing major, just bloody," Donaire said. "It was a vein and that's why it was bleeding a lot. It kept bleeding and didn't stop bleeding until the next day. My hand kept bleeding after the fight. I guess from all the impact, I popped a vein.
"It looked really bad and it felt so painful for a couple of days, but it was unbearable in the later rounds of the fight. I'm just very thankful that there's nothing seriously wrong and that I will be ready to go when we get our next date from Top Rank."
Top Rank, Donaire's promoter, plans to match him with Mexican star Jorge Arce, who vacated the title Donaire (28-1, 18 KOs) won to move down and claim one of the bantamweight belts Donaire had relinquished. Arce (59-6-2, 45 KOs) would move back up to 122 to challenge Donaire.
If Donaire comes through the fight with Arce, Top Rank's plan is to match him after that with Japan's Toshiaki Nishioka in a title unification match.
If everything goes as planned, Top Rank and manager Cameron Dunkin plan for the "Filipino Flash" to fight four times this year.
"I'm fine with fighting Arce next. That's a fight I've been looking at," Donaire, 29, said. "Whoever it is, I will be ready. Tell me who I am fighting and I will train to the best of my ability. In three or four weeks my hand should be healed and I will be ready to go. Everything is good. My hand is OK, I got my title and I'm happy."
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.