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Dougie’s Friday mailbag (Inoue-Donaire)

Donaire was dangerous veteran throughout. Photo by Naoki Fukuda
08
Nov

THOUGHTS ON INOUE-DONAIRE

Hey Doug,

Haven’t written in for a while, but wanted to share my thoughts on Inoue-Donaire. Hope you’re doing well. I’ve written to you plenty of times before on Nonito Donaire (one of my all time favorite fighters), and figured he was pretty much done heading into the WBSS.

I was more than happy for his wins over Stephon Young and Ryan Burnett, and was fighting at a level I didn’t think we’d ever see from him again. I remember you telling me that you’d pull him from the Nicholas Walters fight before he got KTFO. So, I was amazed at the poise he showed against Naoya Inoue, when I was expecting the only way he had a shot at winning was with his left hook. Hats off to Inoue as well, he showed he was a true champion overcoming adversity that should bode well for him down the road. Round 11 was a contender for Round of the Year, and it could end up the FOTY.

Looking forward to Inoue’s next fight (I consider him a top 3 P4P fighter), and kind of hope Donaire retires. It would be a great fight for the future HOFer to go out on.

Keep up the great work, Doug. – Robert from Ashton, MD

Thanks, Robert. Fights like Inoue-Donaire makes my job easy (and lots of fun).

It was hard getting up at 3 a.m. PT to watch the Nordine Oubaali-Takuma Inoue WBC title bout (which turned out to be a decent bantamweight match) but the grogginess left my system the moment Inoue made his electric ring entrance, adrenaline started flowing midway through Round 1, and my heart started beating hard by the end of Round 2.

Inoue was beating the slightly slower (but much bigger) veteran to the punch, but Donaire applied bold pressure while working a beautiful one-two combo and trying to land his hook to the body. However, the Japanese star’s footwork and lateral movement saved him from taking too many punches. Still, Donaire scored first blood by opening that nasty cut above Inoue’s right eye. Inoue would not score a quickie KO in this fight and he would have to deal with adversity (which is something I was hoping to see). From that point on, the intensity and competitiveness of the bout grew with each round. It seemed like either bantamweight could be dropped at any moment, but both men were incredibly resilient. Inoue boxed his ass off in the middle rounds and Donaire came on strong in the middle rounds like legend on a mission. I was ready to have a heart attack by Round 9 and was about to start penning an immediate result news item on Donaire’s huge upset victory. I thought Inoue was drowning – fast – but the young gun proved he could SWIM in deep and very rough waters by taking command of Round 10. The fight reached epic

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

levels with Round 11 (I nearly jumped out of my chair because I had been waiting for Inoue to go to the body all fight). I don’t know how Donaire got up from that body shot (and maybe he didn’t really beat the count), but damn, I was seriously buzzing off this fight all day yesterday.

Round 11 is definitely a Round of the Year candidate and I think the WBSS bantamweight final is clearly one of the five best fights of 2019. It had it all – skill, speed, power, a fast pace, warrior heart, shifts in momentum, and dramatic moments when both men had to fight through serious adversity.

I think Inoue will grow from this experience and will be even harder to beat going forward. I’m looking forward to his return to the U.S. under the Top Rank/ESPN banner. That’s a show I’m gonna make sure to cover from ringside. Donaire probably should retire, but my guess is that he’ll fight again, even if it’s a farewell bout in the Philippines.

 

NONITO!

The Filipino Flash epitomizes everything I love about sport and about boxing.

I simply could not believe my eyes during that 11th.

What a man.

Fair play to “The Monster” too. An incredible fight!

You have to say the WBSS has given us the best of boxing over the last few years. Long may it continue that the best fight the best! – Mark F.

It’s a simple formula that almost always delivers a quality fight, Mark. As Stephen “Breadman” Edwards pointed out on Twitter, when two world titleholders or the top two fighters of a division meet in the ring, we get a Fight of the Year candidate.

I think Inoue-Donaire equals or exceeds Roman-Doheny, Ramirez-Hooker, Williams-Hurd, GGG-Derevyanchenko, Spence-Porter, and even Taylor-Prograis.

I thought both Donaire and Inoue boxed brilliant game plans, and both also showed incredible courage and boldness. Both men took risks and committed to their offense. It was scintillating stuff, but Donaire was more impressive than Inoue in some ways because he performed so well and boldly for his age (which is extremely advanced for a sub-lightweight).

The WBSS should be commended and honored for the elite-level fights their tournaments have produced along with Ring champs and pound-for-pound rated boxers. Kalle Sauerland is a character, and the WBSS has had its share of financial issues and bumps in the road, but he’s been one of the top promoters this year (and last).

 

YEAR OF THE MONSTER

Doug hi,

What an immensely enjoyable and good fight that was between Inoue and Donaire. We’ve seen hotter firefights in the lower weights, but the ring IQ brought to bear was so epic, the action played out in stark relief against an almost electric cerebral background.

Donaire, good lord the man has a chin, and a left hook, and a straight shot over the top, + a heart (and a plan!). I’d be happy for him if he retires but I’d love to see him stick around for a couple more at 118.

As for Inoue, I thought his patience, ability to weather the storm, and find new gears was, simply convincing at the highest level.

This goes immediately into my top-five in a loaded year of good fights.

Plus, there’s still a boatload of great matches between now and when Briedis and Dorticos close out the year on 12/31 (I’m rooting for Dorticos) — it’s almost overwhelming. Only one further comment, I’m betting the upset between Wilder and Ortiz. Hope this finds you well. Top of the weekend! – Alec

Is Ortiz a live dog in the Wilder rematch? Photo by Jhay Oh Otamias

Be sure to put down a substantial sum on the Ortiz upset, Alec. I’ve heard from very good sources that the Cuban southpaw has had MUCH better preparation for this fight than he did going into the first bout, and he’s a lot healthier. There were circumstances with the first bout that probably negatively effected Ortiz’s focus (and he still nearly took out Wilder) but I’m told he’s properly dialed in for this one. We’ll see, but just know that you won’t be alone in betting on Ortiz.

What an immensely enjoyable and good fight that was between Inoue and Donaire. That fight was beyond fun for me. I was emotionally invested almost from the get-go. I was literally rooting for both warriors by the late rounds. It was a pleasure to share my enthusiasm with the Boxing Twitter community in the early hours of Thursday.

We’ve seen hotter firefights in the lower weights, but the ring IQ brought to bear was so epic, the action played out in stark relief against an almost electric cerebral background. Indeed. Donaire did the right things for an older, slower but bigger (and seemingly more durable) fighter – he took it to the younger, faster, vaunted puncher who had never been in a physically grueling distance bout. If Inoue was mentally or physically fragile or a front-runner, Donaire would have exposed it yesterday. But The Monster had to show more than courage and character, he had to fall back on his boxing foundation and skillset, which served him well.

Donaire, good lord the man has a chin, and a left hook, and a straight shot over the top, + a heart (and a plan!). Give my old Missouri homie, Ken Adams, some credit for Donaire’s excellent strategy and punch selection. We knew the Flash had a chin and left hook, but his straight has never looked better.

I’d be happy for him if he retires but I’d love to see him stick around for a couple more at 118. There are no shortage of significant fights for Donaire at bantamweight (although nothing will compare to challenging Inoue in Japan). I think Donaire can beat WBC beltholder Oubaali and he’s no worse than even-money vs. WBO titleholder Zolani Tete in my mind. Donaire vs. Luis Nery would be explosive (but admittedly dangerous for the 36 year old).

A bloodied Naoya Inoue (left) tags the brave Nonito Donaire. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

As for Inoue, I thought his patience, ability to weather the storm, and find new gears was, simply convincing at the highest level. Agree 100%. His poise under pressure and duress was impressive. There have been future great who wilted when cut for the first time against a world-class opponent (one of my favorites, Marco Antonio Barrera, fell apart when Junior Jones cut him and put those long, laser-accurate one-twos on him). Inoue dealt with it, despite double vision and Donaire’s consistent body attack and the ever-present threat of the Filipino’s killer left hook.

 

SIMPLY A MASTER CLASS

Hi Dougie,

All the best to you the family and the team.

What a fight!!

Don’t get me wrong, we all enjoy a good tear up, but this was skill, speed and precision at its best with tones of heart on display also. It was a real pleasure to watch.

The fight was shown at lunchtime in the UK so me and a Japanese work colleague popped out at lunchtime to watch it. Had a sore throat all afternoon from shouting at the TV.

Both fighters kept adjusting to each other. It was brilliant to watch. The ring IQ on display was off the scale IMHO, but it was also brutal! Both fighters also got hurt a few times but kept their cool to carry on.

Credit to Inoue for fighting at that level with blood from a nasty cut over his right eye and blood pouring from his nose for most of the fight. And Credit to Donaire to getting up from that body shot. What are they made of?

Donaire must have surprised a lot of people, considering the odds going into the fight. By round 9 it was getting pretty close and Japanese crown was pretty quiet. He asked a lot of questions of the Inoue and Donaire deserves all the credit in the world for pushing The Monster to the limit, and nearly over it, as he did.

Where does he go now? As of now he’s clearly a top Bantamweight. If Inoue goes up in weight, I can see Donaire rule the roost at 118lb. Another side of me thinks he’s done it all ready. What’s more is there to prove? I respect his decision either way. Today’s fight proves he’s can still hang with the elite.

What Next for The Monster? Maybe Iwasa at 122 in Japan? How about Rigondeaux at 122? He’s answered a lot of questions today.

Since the No. 3 and No. 4 in the Ring P4P list have fought is the last week, considering who they fought and how they fought, does this change the rankings?

Both Canelo and Inoue fought “faded” (and I use this team very loosely) champions. Canelo went up two weight divisions and K.O’ed the champ. Inoue beat arguably a better P4P ranked fighter?

There are good arguments either way. The top four, Lomo, Crawford, Canelo and Inoue are miles ahead of anyone else on the list I feel.

MM:

Today’s Inoue Vs Donaire 5 years younger

Inoue Vs Naz at 122lb

Donaire Vs Naz at 122lb

Finally, the class showed form both and their teams was brilliant and deserves massive credit.

Keep up the good work. – Tabraze, London U.K.

Will do, Tabraze. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Your mythical matchups:

I think Inoue beats the Donaire of five years ago (a featherweight version that struggled to stop a very faded Vic Darchinyan, looked ordinary in earning a technical decision over Simpiwe Vetyeka, and was chopped down by Nicholas Walters), but I think a 31-year-old version of Donaire fighting at bantamweight that has the same team around him that he’s got now could beat Inoue, maybe stop him late.

I’ll go with 122-pound Naseem Hamed by knockout over both Donaire and Inoue (until I’ve seen Inoue at junior featherweight).

Both fighters kept adjusting to each other. It was brilliant to watch. The ring IQ on display was off the scale IMHO, but it was also brutal! That’s why it’s a Fight of the Year candidate.

Both fighters also got hurt a few times but kept their cool to carry on. Both men are born-warriors. Inoue looked like a doomed fighter by the end of Round 9, and Donaire looked finished after taking what looked to me to be a full “10 count” in Round 11. Both not only survived by rallied in that round or the next.

Both Inoue (ight)) and Donaire traded some massive punches. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Credit to Inoue for fighting at that level with blood from a nasty cut over his right eye and blood pouring from his nose for most of the fight. He’s going to be VERY hard to beat because he doesn’t panic, but he knows when to step on the gas or take a risk when the going gets tough.

And Credit to Donaire to getting up from that body shot. What are they made of? Warrior spirit.

Donaire must have surprised a lot of people, considering the odds going into the fight. I wasn’t surprised he took Inoue the distance, or that he hurt The Monster. However, I am surprised he fought and boxed and well as he did. Donaire was a complete fighter vs. Inoue and his fundamentals were better than I’ve seen in previous years.

By round 9 it was getting pretty close and Japanese crowd was pretty quiet. I’m sure most thought it was over for Inoue. That’s what I thought.

He asked a lot of questions of the Inoue and Donaire deserves all the credit in the world for pushing The Monster to the limit, and nearly over it, as he did. Yep, and now we know that Inoue has a solid chin, poise under duress/character, and a good engine.

Where does he go now? The International Boxing Hall of Fame (if he stays out of the ring for three years).

As of now he’s clearly a top Bantamweight. He was rated No. 3 by The Ring prior to Thursday’s fight. I doubt he’ll drop after that performance.

If Inoue goes up in weight, I can see Donaire rule the roost at 118lb. It wouldn’t be an easy road for him, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.

Another side of me thinks he’s done it all ready. That’s because he has.

What’s more is there to prove? Nada.

I respect his decision either way. Today’s fight proves he’s can still hang with the elite. He took No. 4 in The Ring’s pound-for-pound rankings to hell and back.

What’s Next for The Monster? A well-deserved rest.

Maybe Iwasa at 122 in Japan? Maybe, but first he’s supposed to fight twice in the U.S., maybe against Oubaali and Joshua Greer (who, quite Frankly, is not in The Monster’s class and would probably be a solid match for Takuma).

Since the No. 3 and No. 4 in the Ring P4P list have fought in the last week, considering who they fought and how they fought, does this change the rankings? The Ring Ratings Panel narrowly voted to advance Alvarez to No. 1 this week. We’ll find out next week what they suggest for Inoue.

Both Canelo and Inoue fought “faded” (and I use this team very loosely) champions. Canelo went up two weight divisions and KO’ed the champ. Inoue beat arguably a better P4P ranked fighter? Neither Kovalev or Donaire are in The Ring’s P4P top 10, but both have been in previous years. I think Donaire has accomplished more than Kovalev, but not much more.

There are good arguments either way. The top four, Lomo, Crawford, Canelo and Inoue are miles ahead of anyone else on the list I feel. Yes, I agree, and you can’t go wrong with any of the Fab Four being in the No. 1 spot, or any order in the top four.

 

FIGHT OF THE YEAR?

Hey Dougie,

Fight of the Year so far?

Also how did you score it? – Rodemeyer

I had it eight rounds to four for Inoue, so 116-111 with the knockdown, but it could have easily been 115-112 or 114-113. I scored rounds 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11 and 12 for Inoue. I think some of those early rounds I scored for Inoue could have gone to Donaire.

I’m still in awe of what went down in Saitama, Japan, so right now I consider Inoue-Donaire to be the 2019 FOTY front-runner. Now, it’s possible that I could change my mind after watching some of the previous FOTY candidates again, but I doubt it. What we witnessed on Thursday was truly special.

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and watch him on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.