MASAM SPORTS 58: NONITO DONAIRE DECLARES HE FIGHTS NAOYA INOUE NOT TO BRAWL BUT TO WIN
By Maloney L. Samaco
Mon, 16 May 2022
Nonito Donaire, the reigning WBC bantamweight champion, is scheduled to face WBA and IBF bantamweight titleholder Naoya Inoue in a unification rematch on June 7 in Saitama, Japan, Inoue’s native land.
On November 7, 2019, Inoue and Donaire fought an all-out war, with the Japanese emerging victorious via a unanimous decision of 116-111, 117-109, 114-113. The tussle was voted as the 2019 Fight of the Year.
Inoue, now age 29 years, finished the fight with an eye socket fracture inflected by the hard punches of Donaire ten years his senior.
The U.S. based Filipino veteran fighter is looking positively at the rematch that he can give the Japanese champ the same degree of punishment, but Donaire declared in an interview that he plans to fight with more skill and savvy, the fighting style he thinks will end him the match triumphantly.
“When I fought him the last time and came in there, I just brawled with him, to get him into a war,” Donaire told FightHype.com. “Now I’m coming to win the fight. That means I’m putting in game plans, I’m putting in the work ethic, I’m putting [in] a lot of boxing IQ.
“Back then I would just go out there and I didn’t really care to watch his fights. That fight woke me up. I can beat this guy…Now I’m here.”
After his loss to Inoue, Donaire has impressively recovered. Last May 29, he stopped Nordine Oubaali in the fourth round to win the WBC world bantamweight title, becoming the oldest world bantamweight champion in boxing history.
Donaire scored a magnificent fourth-round knockout win over WBC interim bantamweight champion Gaballo to retain his WBC world title belt on December 11.
The two splendid stoppage victories, with The Filipino Flash becoming a world champion again, and the memorable fight with Inoue giving the Japanese his most difficult fight, makes the rematch more exciting and has spurred worldwide fan interest.
Donaire (42-6, 28 KOs) is familiar with the fighting style of Inoue (22-0, 19 KOs), and he is sure that he can exploit The Monster's weaknesses.
“When I came into that fight the last time – again I give him the biggest respect, I think he’s an incredible, incredible fighter,” Donaire was quoted by Boxingscene. “But in doing so there’s always a flaw. In every fighter there’s a flaw and if you find that flaw it’s when you can create victory on that type of game plan. Looking into it, the way I am so composed in [boxing] now, and the way I trust my body to go in there and do its thing I think that will definitely help me win this fight.”
Donaire, four-division world champion, attributed his mind conditioning that he is still young could make the difference.
“Back then I was playing along with what people were saying I was,” Donaire said. “Now I’m playing along to what I say I am. That’s the biggest difference.
"I’m gonna go in there and say, 'You know what, I’m gonna be younger than him, I’m gonna be faster than him, I’m gonna be better than him, I’m gonna be stronger than him.' That’s just what I’m gonna believe in. That’s how I’m gonna go in there with that faith.”
In another interview, Donaire said he was not fighting at his best when he fought Inoue. This could provide him a better chance of defeating the undefeated Japanese "Monster" when they collide again.
"Sure from the way I am now, I fought about 50% then," Donaire told boxing analyst Dennis Principe.
"My strength was not seen because during the training camp, I practiced mostly my speed. But I never really sat down on my punches. And we have seen I used different gloves then, since the gloves were destroyed on the shipping."
Donaire pushed Inoue to the limit, injuring the Japanese's eye socket before getting knocked down and losing a unanimous decision.
"So all the I showed there, I believe that I wasn't at the full capacity performing. I'm not with my full power, not with my full speed, not with my full mentality," he said as quoted by ABS-CBN Sports.
Donaire said getting into the proper mindset will be crucial in his rematch with Inoue.
"In my last Inoue fight, I have no mentality then. Except for the fight mentality, there was never champion mentality," he said. "The Nonito Donaire who will be my choice, that's who you will see, that's the person you will see inside the ring.
"If I believe I'm 21 years old, that's how I'm gonna fight. If I think I'm 40 years, and now I'm actually 50 years then that's how I'm gonna fight. Whatever you speak, the mind becomes you."
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