Naoya Inoue allows Nonito Donaire to borrow WBSS Trophy to bring home

By Boxing News - 11/08/2019 - Comments

By Robert Addams: In a classy move, IBF/WBA bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue allowed the beaten Nonito Donaire to borrow his Ali Trophy to bring back to his sons in order to keep his promise of bringing it home.

Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) defeated Donaire (40-6, 26 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision last Saturday to win the World Boxing Super Series tournament at the Super Arena, in Saitama.

The Muhammad Ali Trophy was given to the 26-year-old Inoue moments after he winning. The scores were 116-111, 114-113 and 117-109. Donaire gave Inoue all he could handle in the fight, but he didn’t have the hand speed or the timing.

Both fighters hurt

The fight was highly competitive with both Donaire and Inoue getting hurt by big shots. Donaire was staggered in round 5 and dropped in round 11. Inoue was hurt by a counter right hand punch from Donaire in the 9th.

The 26-year-old Inoue had Donaire close to being stopped in the 11th and 12th rounds, but he couldn’t finish him. The powerful Japanese knockout artist tried hard, but Donaire was able to take his shots well. Donaire’s size allowed him to absorb shots from Inoue that had knocked out many of his previous opponents. The left hook that Inoue dropped Donaire in the 11th round would have finished a lesser fighter.

Donaire showed incredible heart to get up off the canvas, and weather the storm to survive the round. Inoue tried his best to stop him, but Donaire stayed on his feet. Despite being badly hurt, Donaire clipped Inoue with a monstrous left hook that got his attention. After getting hit with that shot, Inoue backed off and fought tentatively to finish out the 11th. He realized that Donaire was still capable of knocking him out despite being hurt.

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Will Donaire continue career?

There’s no word yet whether Donaire, 36, will be retiring from boxing following the defeat. Donaire showed that he’s still fighting at a high level, and he’s got a lot left in the tank. He’s been a professional since 2001, and captured four division world titles.

If Donaire decides to slog on with his career, he would likely need to do it as a contender at bantamweight father than a champion. Inoue is on a path to unify the division in 2020, and it’ll be difficult for Donaire to win one of the belts while he’s doing this. The bantamweight division is clearly Donaire’s best weight class right now, as his power isn’t as devastating at 122 and 126.

If Donaire could move down to 115, he would have a lot of opportunities to capture belts. It’s highly improbable that Donaire will attempt to do that. Making 118 is hard enough for him. If he had to take off an extra three pounds to fight at super flyweight, it might be too much.