Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Naoya Inoue, Nonito Donaire, World Boxing Super Series)
INOUE VS. DONAIRE
Been many, many years since I last wrote to yourself. Not since the glorious Maxboxing days when you and “The Hammer” used to do the Next Round; great times.
What a fight on Thursday afternoon. I was unashamedly watching on my phone at work trying to keep my excitement in check whilst those two warriors left it all out there for the benefit of us fans. Going into the tenth round I felt the momentum was with Donaire, but what grit and determination and skill shown from Inoue to take back control and go onto win the fight. My only gripe is that Inoue was robbed of the KO in the eleventh, as the ref had reached the count of ten yet Donaire had not beaten the count. Kind of reminded me of Brewster vs Krasniqi although in that case it was blatant cheating.
In a way I’m glad Donaire was allowed to continue and finish the fight considering the kind of fighter and gentleman he is. I’ve never met him, but he seems way too nice to be in this sport, but boy can he fight. However, although I wasn’t particularly rooting for anyone I may have felt differently if that left hook he landed on Inoue had more an effect than it did.
Donaire is guaranteed HOF status as far as I’m concerned. I remember him starching Vic Darchinyan all those years back with that left hook and many others over the years. It seems so effortless for him, but the power he generates is just devastating.
Where do you see Inoue’s ceiling being? I’d love to see him go up and fight the likes of Danny Roman and Rey Vargas at super bantam, but as he moves up it’s possible his power may not have the same effect it did at bantam and super fly.
I think the WBSS has been great with the tournaments they’ve shown so far, but do you see it carrying on with the same high-calibre fighters we’ve witnessed over the last few years considering a few of the problems that have been reported recently with Prograis and Baranchyk?
Lastly, I saw a lot of whining from American fight fans having to stay up late to watch Canelo/Kovalev. All I’ll say is this: Try being a British fan who routinely has to stay up late to watch the big fights. My advice would be crack open a beer and stop crying.
Much Love and carry on with the exceptional work. – Lee, London
Thanks for the love, Lee, and thanks for sharing with us after all these years (and for sticking with me since the “glory days”).
That’s damn good advice for American fans (we do love to bitch and moan, don’t we?).
What a fight on Thursday afternoon. The more I think about it, the more I’m sure about Inoue-Donaire being the 2019 Fight of the Year.
I was unashamedly watching on my phone at work trying to keep my excitement in check whilst those two warriors left it all out there for the benefit of us fans. The next time you watch a fight as awesome as Inoue-Donaire at work, just say f__k it, and share it with your coworkers. Chromecast it from your phone to the nearest smart TV screen and have everybody around you take a break. (You might lose your job, but at least you’ll make a few boxing fans.)
Going into the tenth round I felt the momentum was with Donaire, but what grit and determination and skill shown from Inoue to take back control and go onto win the fight. That’s why I’m thinking it’s the Fight of the Year. Earlier in the bout, Rounds 5 and 6, it seemed like Inoue was on his way to whacking Donaire out, but the veteran appeared to break down the Japanese star in Rounds 7, 8 and 9 – BUT, just when it looked like Inoue was about to drown in deep waters, he rallies like MONSTER in Rounds 10, 11 and 12.
My only gripe is that Inoue was robbed of the KO in the eleventh, as the ref had reached the count of ten yet Donaire had not beaten the count. That’s true. The referee also bumped/body checked Inoue after The Monster landed the crippling hook to the body that caused the future hall of famer turn away, circle around the ring and drop to his knees. But, hey, if there’s anybody out there that deserves a little luck via questionable officiating, it’s the Filipino Flash.
Kind of reminded me of Brewster vs Krasniqi although in that case it was blatant cheating. My man Lamon had to score TWO knockouts to retain his WBO heavyweight title that night in Germany, but DAMN, that was a hell of a fight.
In a way I’m glad Donaire was allowed to continue and finish the fight considering the kind of fighter and gentleman he is. I’ve never met him, but he seems way too nice to be in this sport, but boy can he fight. Indeed, and I can guarantee you that if you ever meet Nonito, you will like him. He’s just as gracious and friendly in person as he appears during interviews.
Donaire is guaranteed HOF status as far as I’m concerned. As far as I’m concerned, too.
I remember him starching Vic Darchinyan all those years back with that left hook and many others over the years. It seems so effortless for him, but the power he generates is just devastating. The left hook that Donaire was able to deliver at flyweight and bantamweight was every bit as formidable as Oscar De La Hoya’s hook at 135 pounds (and the Filipino Flash boxed – tall, light on his feet, fast jabs, underused right hand, thunderous counter hooks – much the way The Golden Boy did at his prime weights). See Donaire’s KOs of Darch Vader, Raul Martinez and Fernando Montiel; and De La Hoya’s blowouts of Rafael Ruelas and Jesse James Leija for prime examples. (Oscar was a more technically sound and a little more complete, while Nonito probably had the edge in natural talent/fluidity.)
Where do you see Inoue’s ceiling being? Junior featherweight or featherweight.
I’d love to see him go up and fight the likes of Danny Roman and Rey Vargas at super bantam, but as he moves up it’s possible his power may not have the same effect it did at bantam and super fly. That’s OK. The young man can box. He’s a complete fighter. He proved that vs. Donaire. I’d also love to see Inoue challenge Roman or Vargas, but signing with Top Rank means the 122-pound titleholder he’d face would be Emanuel Navarrate, which is an excellent matchup.
I think the WBSS has been great with the tournaments they’ve shown so far, but do you see it carrying on with the same high-calibre fighters we’ve witnessed over the last few years considering a few of the problems that have been reported recently with Prograis and Baranchyk? The WBSS will continue to face financial problems and issues with some of their participants because… this is boxing. There’s always problems to overcome. Nothing good happens in this fractured, antagonistic sport without a lot of complicated negotiating, hard work and legal threats. Can they carry on with the same quality of fighters? Not at the heavier weights, but I think they can do it with the sub-featherweights: 108-, 112- and 115-pound divisions – and let me tell you something (that you and every other self-defined hardcore boxing fan should know), there are GREAT matchups to be made among the top contenders/titleholders of those weight classes.
THERE IS ALWAYS A NEXT FIGHT
Long-time D, but who has time to write when there is so much great boxing going on. This must be one of the best boxing seasons ever. We’ve seen a lot of unification fights. Great fights. Inoue vs Nonito was a barnburner.
Anyway, there are still a few fights out there to be made for The Ring Belt, the only belt worth anything these days. What would you predict given the below matchups + the probability they will happen.
I know, there are always new fights to hope and dream for. You are never completely satisfied as a boxing fan apparently.
Canelo vs Beterbiev – Light HW
Smith vs Benavidez – Super MW
Taylor vs Ramirez – Junior Welter
Berchelt vs Davis – Junior LW
Warrington vs Santa Cruz – Feather
Roman vs Vargas – Junior Feather
Inoue vs Nery – Bantam
Estrada vs Inoue – Bantam
In solidarity. – Stefan von Ajkay, Stockholm
Amen, Stefan. We just can’t get enough (cue Depeche Mode).
Canelo vs Beterbiev – Light HW – Beterbiev by close decision. Probability of being made on a scale of 1 to 10: 4.
Smith vs Benavidez – Super MW – Smith by hotly contested decision or late stoppage. Probability: 4.
Taylor vs Ramirez – Junior Welter – Taylor by hotly contested decision, maybe majority or split not. Probability: 7.
Berchelt vs Davis – Junior LW – Tank by up-from-the-canvas mid-to-late KO. Probability: 0.
Warrington vs Santa Cruz – Feather – Santa Cruz by close decision in a CompuBox record breaker. Probability: 2.
Roman vs Vargas – Junior Feather – Roman by close, maybe split decision. Probability: 8.
Inoue vs Nery – Bantam – Inoue by late TKO. Probability: 3.
Estrada vs Inoue – Bantam – Inoue by competitive decision. Probability: 4.
INOUE VS. THE BANTAMWEIGHT GREATS
Hope you’re doing well.
Was glad to see one of my fav fighters – Naoya Inoue, in action on Thursday classic – another great WBSS bantamweight final!
Naoya is always a joy to watch, but props to Donaire, too. No one was expecting the Filipino vet to take Inoue to the late rounds, but of course, despite some shaky moments for Inoue, the difference in speed and power was visible from the beginning to the last rounds.
How do you think Inoue would fare against the greatest bantamweights in history, such as Eder Jofre, Carlos Zarate, Ruben Olivares, Panama Al Brown…?
And where’d you rank him in the all-time best Japanese boxers list? To me he’s only behind Fighting Harada and Yoko Gushiken for what he have accomplished until now, but he’s still 26 and has a chance to surpass them both to become the greatest Japanese fighter ever !
Keep well. Thanks for making our Fridays and Mondays more colourful! – Mike, Armenia
You are most welcome, Mike. Thanks for the appreciation.
In terms of accomplishments, I’d say Inoue has already positioned himself right behind Harada in the pantheon of great Japanese boxers. In terms of natural talent, he’s right there with Harada and Gushiken.
How would Inoue fare against the greatest banties in history? They would have to respect his speed, power and accuracy (all backed by a pretty solid boxing foundation), but given that he just went life and death with the 36-year-old version of Donaire, I can’t pick him over the prime versions of Brown, Olivares, Jofre or Zarate. Not yet, anyway.
WBSS SEASON 3
I just heard that the WBO ordered a Rematch between Briedis and Glowacki.
Could that mean the WBSS Cruiserweight Final is on hold until next Year?
Also, I read an interview Bradley Cullen did for DAZN with Kalle Sauerland, regarding the WBSS.
“Season 3 is in the planning — flyweight, super flyweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, a couple of other ones as well and maybe a female weight class. Those are the things we are looking at right now. ”
Hold on a Sec.!
A WBSS with Canelo, GGG, Andrade and Co.? That sounds too good to be true. I guess that would be a WBSS without the 2 Big Dogs in the division what do you think?
I think you can`t get both to participate in a WBSS but I think you can sweeten it to Canelo if you tell him that he could become the First Mexican to Win a World Boxing Super Series. I think that is something he could identify with.
And if you can`t get Canelo to compete, a WBSS with “El Gallo” Estrada and the Thai tank SSR at Super Flyweight could be sweet too.
It´s interesting that there isn´t a Mexican boxer in the WBSS Series yet.
Talking about SSR and Thai fighters, if you have any contact with Sauerland you have to tell him if he plans a WBSS with a Thai fighter he has to do an event in Bangkok.
I am old enough to visit the old Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok and the atmosphere there was electric. The crowd there is way more rowdy than it was at the Inoue vs Donaire fight in Saitama.
Just imagine if SSR takes part and the crowd goes wild every time SSR lands a punch, that would be fascinating and intimidating at the same time. I hope you have a good week. – Andy
I think junior bantamweight (or super flyweight) is the best choice for a top-class WBSS tournament in 2020. I think Ring/WBC champ Juan Francisco Estrada, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Donnie Nietes, WBO titleholder Kazuto Ioka, WBA beltholder Kal Yafai, IBF boss Jerwin Ancajas, unbeaten contender Andrew Moloney, and maybe even the KING himself, Roman Gonzalez, would be willing to participate given the right offers.
Middleweight is a glamour division and the stars that reside there – Canelo and GGG – are future hall of famers with multi-million dollar deals with DAZN. There’s not much that the WBSS can offer them. (In fact, top contenders/beltholders, such as Jermall Charlo and Ryota Murata, that normally would be interested in such an opportunity would likely pass on it in hopes that they can get a shot – or rematch in the case of someone like Sergiy Derevyanchenko – with GGG or Canelo.)
Tournaments like the WBSS are for young guns (like Inoue) looking to establish their names and reputations among fans outside of their home nations, or for old lions (like Donaire) looking to prove that they’ve still world-class operators. So, if the WBSS were to include a 160-pound tournament with their 2020 offering, my guess is that the most notable middleweight that would participate is Demetrius Andrade (because the WBO titleholder has so much trouble getting the other standouts of the division to face him). That doesn’t mean a WBSS middleweight tourney wouldn’t be interesting. Joining “Boo Boo” could be unbeaten fringe contenders, such as Kanat Islam (27-0) and Esquiva Falcao (25-0); dangerous veterans, such as Matvey Korobov and Tureano Johnson; and prospects like Janibek Alikhanuly (8-0), Meiirim Nursultanov (13-0), Edgar Berlanga (12-0) and D’Mitrius Ballard (20-0 – if the Maryland-area standout defeats Yamaguchi Falcao on December 5).
Regarding the WBSS cruiserweight final, I think Sauerland and company will try to work out some kind of “step-aside” deal with the WBO and Team Glowacki so that the Briedis-Dorticos fight for the Ali Trophy (and maybe the recently vacated Ring Magazine cruiserweight title) can go on as planned next month. But if not, the final will have to be delayed until next year. That’s OK. I’m not going to complain about having to wait until 2020 for the cruiserweight final after the thrills that the 118- and 140-pound semifinals and finals have produced this year. Besides, the Briedis-Glowacki matchup guarantees fireworks (as does the winner vs. Dorticos).
ONE LAST GREAT FIGHT
It’s been a minute since I have written into your mailbag. Congrats on everything. You are killing it between the mailbag, the website and the magazine. Keep up the great work buddy!
Upon watching Nonito’s excellent performance against Monster Inoue in a losing effort, I was reminded of the old boxing adage that every great fighter has one last great performance in him. Nonito’s performance was an example of this, and when you factor in that he is nearly 37 and a CLEAN BANTAMWEIGHT, it makes it that much more impressive. Upon further thought, I figured it would be fun to think of other examples of great modern boxers who delivered one last great performance at the twilight of their careers (irrespective of whether they were victorious or not). Below are ones that came to mind. Please feel free to add a few that I have neglected to mention.
Manny Pacquiao’s recent title winning victory over Keith Thurman at age 40 was amazing and although he is still an active fighter, but gut feeling is that this will go down as his last great performance over an elite opponent.
Wladimir Klitschko’s great losing effort to regain a heavyweight title against Anthony Joshua at age 41 in a fight of the year battle.
Roy Jones at age 34 winning a piece of the heavyweight title in a dominant performance against John Ruiz who was a legit top 5 Ring Magazine rate heavyweight at the time that many forget was selected by 9 out of 20 writers to knock Roy out. RJ never looked that good again.
Bernard Hopkins’ dominant catchweight victory at age 43 over an excellent, undefeated Middleweight Champion in Kelly Pavlik while being a 3 to 1 underdog.
Floyd Mayweather’s dominant victory at age 36 over a young Canelo Alvarez. This was Floyd’s last great performance.
Legendary Roberto Duran’s split decision Middleweight title winning victory at age 37 over Iran Barkley. For a 37 year old natural lightweight who was only 5’7 to drop and beat a 6’1 middleweight champion in his prime who had just knocked out Tommy Hearns at this time is truly remarkable!
Natural welterweight legend Sugar Ray Leonard’s split decision middleweight title victory against fellow all-time great Marvin Hagler after a 3 year layoff after previously sustaining a detached retina was amazing.
Mike Tyson’s heavyweight title regaining TKO victory over Frank Bruno in their rematch is the last time he looked like the old Iron Mike.
Erik Morales’ decision losing effort at age 35 against a young up and coming Danny Garcia for a vacant title was quite impressive considering the amount of wars he had been through by that time and who he was facing.
Shane Mosley’s welterweight title regaining TKO victory over Antonio Margarito at age 37 and being a 3 to 1 underdog was fantastic and the last time he looked like the old Sugar Shane.
Miguel Cotto’s Middleweight title victory over Sergio Martinez as a 2 to 1 underdog was his last great performance.
George Foreman regaining the heavyweight title at almost 46 years old against 26 year old Michael Moorer as a 2 to 1 underdog was possibly the greatest comeback not only in boxing history but sports history! The performance itself up until the 10th round was not exactly a great one, but the result was spectacular and the grossly underrated heart that big George possessed throughout his career was on full display in this fight.
Legendary Muhammad Ali regaining the heavyweight title by KO at age 32 as a 4 to 1 underdog against the aforementioned George Foreman when George was in his prime and only 25 years old subsequent to Foreman destroying both Joe Frazier and Ken Norton, two great boxers that Ali had previously struggled with and lost once to. This was not only Ali’s last great performance and most impressive victory when considering the circumstances and opponent, but has to go down as the most intelligent strategy every implemented in the history of boxing and one of the most intelligent in the history of sports.
Thanks. – Darrell
Those are all great choices, Darrell.
Duran’s middleweight title victory over the best version of Barkley I’d seen to that point (which was also The Ring Magazine’s 1989 Fight of the Year) is my personal favorite. Leonard’s split nod over Hagler and Mosley’s stoppage of Margz are also very special to me.
Not much I can add off the top of the my head, but I think B-Hop’s middleweight title unification (and Ali tournament) victory over 3-to-1 favorite Felix Trinidad at age 35, and his rematch decision over Jean Pascal to win The Ring/WBC light heavyweight title and break Foreman’s record of being the oldest boxing world champ are worthy of mention, as is James Toney’s incredible decision victory over undefeated (31-0) defending IBF cruiserweight titleholder Vassiliy Jirov just four months away from his 35th birthday and his stoppage of 3-to-1 favorite Evander Holyfield later that year (Lights Out was Ring Magazine’s 2003 Fighter of the Year for these two performances).
I’ll also toss in Erik Morales’ courageous effort in his majority decision loss to Marcos Maidana at age 34 and El Terrible’s late stoppage of Pablo Cesar Cano to become a four-division titleholder at age 35.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and watch him on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.