Donaire improved to 27-1, extending his nine-year winning streak to 26 fights, with winning scores of 120-108 from the judges. After Donaire knocked out nine of his last 10 opponents, the fight had most of the 4,425 fans booing the lack of action.
“I was bored,” Donaire said. “When I know that the guy wouldn’t open up, I kind of got bored because no matter what I opened my hands, I opened my face and the least you can do is hit me with a jab, hit me with something.”
Narvaez (35-1-2) lost for the first time in his 11-year professional career.
“He never hurt me,” Narvaez said. “I didn’t feel any of the punches. I didn’t think he was such a big deal.
Donaire won the title with an overwhelming second-round knockout of Fernando Montiel eight months ago, but this one was nowhere as easy as that left hook for the 28-year-old making his first New York appearance.
After judges awarded Donaire the first three rounds, he began to get into a groove in the fourth. Late in the round, Donaire began landing more punches and he had Narvaez against the ropes with a strong combination but that did lead to victory.
Narvaez was able to stay with him by using a defensive strategy most of the fight. He frequently kept his hands clenched near his head to avoid many strong punches and appeared content to let the bout go the distance. Narvaez also showed a reluctance to go on the offensive as he averaged 24 punches thrown per round, 36 fewer than the average.
“I expected him to wear me down, but that wasn’t the case,” Donaire said. “The moment that I hit him hard, he just didn’t want to take his chances.”
Narvaez’s technical approach had some in the crowd booing at times but they cheered wildly when Donaire began landing some uppercuts late in the 10th. The booing returned in the 11th as Donaire rarely landed any punches until the final seconds of the round.
In the 12th round, Donaire landed a strong combination but could not finish. Narvaez briefly had him against the ropes but Donaire escaped though in the final seconds he flailed against the ropes.
Earlier, Miguel Garcia (27-0, 23 KOs) remained unbeaten and successfully retained his NABF featherweight title with a fourth-round knockout of challenger Juan Carlos Martinez (17-13-1). Garcia won after knocking Martinez out three times before the fight was stopped with 14 seconds remaining in the fourth round.