Naoya Inoue TKOs overmatched Nonito Donaire in 2nd round massacre
By Craig Daly: In a shocking blowout, IBF/WBA bantamweight champion Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue (23-0, 20 KOs) reduced WBC champ Nonito Donaire (42-7, 28 KOs) to a pile of rubble on the canvas in stopping the former four-division world champion in the second round on Tuesday night on ESPN+.
While fans expected Inoue to win the fight, what they didn’t think was that he would do it like that against Donaire. After all, no one has knocked out Donaire before that fast in his 21-year professional career.
The only other fighter that had knocked Donaire out was ‘The Axe Man’ Nicholas Walters in 2014 in a sixth-round knockout, but that was against a fighter with a size advantage over him.
Inoue had struggled in his 2019 fight with Donaire, getting staggered and suffering broken facial bones in the process of winning a hard-fought 12-round unanimous decision in the World Boxing Super Series [WBSS] finals.
However, that was when Donaire was 36 and still youthful. We saw tonight a much older-looking 39-year-old Donaire, who had slowed visibility from the fighter he’d been 1000 yesterdays ago and wasn’t the same fighter that Inoue had labored to defeat.
This time, Inoue made fast work of Donaire, knocking him down in the first and second rounds with right hands.
Donaire made it easy for Inoue by choosing to fight aggressively right out of the gate rather than choosing to box him, which is clearly what he should have done.
Even after Donaire was dropped in the first round, he continued to brawl in the second round and was staggered twice by left hooks from Inoue. Donaire made back to his feet after the first-round knockdown, but he failed to change his game plan accordingly.
You would think that after being hurt, Donaire & his trainer would have switched to a plan B because brawling wasn’t working against the big puncher Inoue. He was too quick, powerful, and young for the 39-year-old Donaire.
The referee Michael Griffin decided that he’d seen enough after Donaire was knocked down in the second round by Inoue. Although Donaire appeared less hurt after the first knockdown, the ref felt it was good to stop the bout rather than let Inoue continue to tee off against the old past, his best warrior.
On Friday, Donaire had talked about his mentality for the fight, making it clear that he was going to war with Inoue. He wasn’t going to try and box his way to a decision in this fight, and that war-like attitude for Donaire came back to haunt him.
Inoue wants the last man standing among the champions at 118, WBO belt holder Paul Butler next.
If Inoue can beat Butler, he’ll be the undisputed champion at bantamweight, and he can then move up to 122 to battle the two champs in that weight class, Stephen Fulton and Murodjon Akhmadaliev.
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