By Chris Williams: Bantamweight champions Nonito Donaire and Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue are in negotiations for their long-awaited rematch that will be taking place in April in Japan.
WBC 118-lb champion Donaire (42-6, 28 KOs) and IBF/WBA champion Inoue (22-0, 19 KOs) met in November 2019 in the World Boxing Super Series tournament, with ‘Monster’ Naoya winning a competitive 12 round unanimous decision to capture the Ali Trophy as the tournament’s champion.
Inoue suffered a cracked eye ridge and a nasty cut in his victory over Donaire. It looked like Inoue was falling apart from the heavy shots that Donaire was hitting with in that fight. There were a lot of punches that Inoue skillfully avoided that would have potentially knocked him out if Donaire had landed. But even the shots that Donaire did land, he broke Inoue’s face apart.
Donaire will have a different strategy
“I’m going to come in with a strategy behind a strategy, and if it fails, there’s another one that will come in,” said Donaire to Punch Perfect Boxing on his plans for a rematch with Naoya Inoue.
“I believe there will be a lot of familiarity with the way he [Inoue] moves and his action, but I don’t want to put a thing where I’m expecting something, and it doesn’t come, and I fall into a trap instead.
“So, he’s going to fight my fight instead of me fighting his fight. I think there’s a good possibility of that, but I would like Chocolatito or Estrada, either one of those guys, whoever wins, I’d like to have a crack from those guys,” said Donaire on his desire to potentially face the winner of the trilogy match between WBA super flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez.
In the rematch, if Donaire can land more of his shots, he’s got a good chance of stopping Inoue just from the damage that he would inflict on his face.
It’s unclear whether Inoue has thin bones in his face, but he looked like he was falling apart from the hard punches that Donaire was landing.
Inoue appeared to be getting upset that he was getting hit by Donaire, and he didn’t handle the back and forth of the fight well. The power that Donaire has is unreal for the 118-lb division. Unfortunately for Inoue, he hasn’t fought anyone similar during his career.
Inoue loses his cool when hit
Instead of staying calm, Inoue was visibly angry each time he got hit. It could be that Inoue assumed that due to Donaire’s advanced age, he would roll over like the other fighters that the Japanese fighter had beaten during his career.
When that didn’t happen, Inoue started losing his cool, showing anger & frustration during the bout. It was the same thing we saw from Inoue in his fight with David Carmona in 2016.
That was supposed to have been an easy win for Inoue, but the tough Mexican Carmona stuck around the entire fight, landing stinging shots, causing Naoya to lose his temper.
One could tell that ‘Monster’ Inoue isn’t accustomed to getting hit in his fights, and he doesn’t deal with it as well as he should for a fighter that has risen to the level he’s at in his career.
In the tide of a battle, there’s usually a back and forth flow. In Inoue’s case, he doesn’t appear to be used to that due to all the quick knockouts he’s gotten against beatable opposition.
If Donaire can stick around in the rematch with Inoue, he’s got a chance of winning, as long as he’s more accurate with his shots. If Donaire can land with a higher percentage of his shots in the rematch with Inoue, he’s got a shot at scoring a cut or broken bone injury stoppage of the Japanese fighter.
Donaire’s age could be a factor in this fight, as he’s now 39-years-old and will be turning 40 this year. Although he’s still a huge puncher, Donaire’s age may limit his chances against the lightning-quick 28-year-old Inoue.
Since their fight in 2019, Inoue has taken it easy, fighting weaker opposition, for the most part, beating Aran Dipaen, Michael Dasmarinas, and Jason Moloney.
Only Inoue’s promoter knows why they’ve backed him off of fighting elite-level opposition, but it could be a combination of factors.
There’s been pandemic going on, and it’s no secret that Inoue absorbed a great deal of punishment in his fight with Donaire.
That might be one of the reasons why there was no hurry on Inoue’s management part to put together the rematch with Donaire, as the Filipino knockout artist has been eager for a second fight since they last fought.
In Donaire’s two fights since his loss to Inoue, he’s scored a pair of fourth round knockout wins over Reymart Gaballo and Nordine Oubaali in the fourth round. Needless to say, those two fighters are a lot better than the opposition that Inoue has fought since his win over Donaire.