By Craig Daly: Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue weighed in at 118-lbs, and Nonito Donaire came in at 117.8 lbs during Monday’s weigh-in for their three-belt bantamweight unification rematch this Tuesday, June 7th, at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
Inoue vs. Donaire 2 coverage will begin LIVE on ESPN+ at 5:30 A.M. ET. That’s not ideal for U.S boxing fans, but the contest takes place in Japan. That’s the location where the fight will attract the most amount of interest.
Unbeaten Inoue (22-0, 19 KOs) will be putting his IBF & WBA 118-lb titles on the line against WBC champion Donaire (42-6, 28 KOs).
Inoue, 29, defeated Donaire by a 12-round unanimous decision in November 2019 in the World Boxing Super Series final in a competitive contest in Saitama, Japan. Interestingly, both fighters were hurt.
Donaire was dropped in the eleventh round and lucky to survive. For his part, Inoue suffered a cut over his right eye, a broken nose, and a fractured left eye socket from Donaire’s powerful punches.
Inoue was fortunate to have ducked & dodged many of Donaire’s punches in the fight, as he likely would have been far more injured if those many shots had landed.
Even with Inoue’s defense being quite good in the fight, he still suffered significant facial damage.
If Inoue doesn’t get Donaire out of there on Tuesday night, it could be another grueling fight for the Japanese fighter, who doesn’t seem to take punishment nearly as well as he dishes it out.
Naoya has won his last three fights by knockout, defeating Jason Moloney, Michael Dasmarinas, and Aran Dipaen.
Inoue has been criticized by some boxing fans for his choice of opponents since the Donaire fight, opting for gimme opponents rather than taking a risk with his career by fighting quality guys that could potentially beat him.
Inoue’s career resume is filled with easier options, and that’s unfortunate. Naoya should have fought much better opposition than he has up to this point in his career, but he might not be unbeaten if he did.
That’s the downside of Inoue fighting good fighters. He would have taken damage, and his record likely wouldn’t be unmarred.
Donaire is coming off a pair of four-round knockouts over Reymart Gaballo and Nordine Oubaali.
It wasn’t just the Donaire fight in which Naoya looked mortal. In ‘Monster’ Inoue’s match against David Carmona, the Japanese looked frustrated & angry at getting hit and being forced to go 12 rounds against the tough Mexican fighter. Inoue looked uncomfortable at getting hit by Carmona, even though this guy wasn’t a big puncher.
It was clear from that fight that Inoue is too accustomed to scoring early knockouts, and when he’s forced to absorb punishment himself, he gets frustrated & looks angry.
Inoue’s brother Takuma is the same way. Throughout the fight, Takuma looked angry each time he got hit and didn’t seem capable of staying calm, realizing that part of boxing is taking punishment. He looked furious in a 12-round unanimous decision loss to Nordine Oubaali.
You can argue that Takuma had been spoiled like his older brother Naoya with many easy wins against over-matched opposition until being matched against Oubaali.
When he finally was put in with someone that could fight, Takuma looked angry that he was getting hit back for a change.