MANILA, Philippines – Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire fell short of beating Naoya “Monster” Inoue on Thursday night, November 7 losing by unanimous decision in the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight final at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
The scores were 116-111, 117-109, and 114-113, which should have been closer as Donaire rocked Inoue several times, cut his right eye brow in the 2nd round, and bloodied his nose later.
Were it not for an 11th round knockdown suffered by Donaire, who got caught by a wicked left to the body and crumbled to his knees, the fight could have gone either way as reflected by the discerning judge.
Apart from bagging the Muhammad Ali trophy as WBSS champion, Inoue also unified the WBA 118-pound crown and kept the International Boxing Federation belt.
Inoue, who sustained a cut on the right eyebrow early on, improved to 19-0, with 16 knockouts, including his last 3 opponents before Donaire.
On the twilight of a brilliant career, Donaire fell to 40-6 with 26 KOs.
Still, it was a commendable performance for Donaire, turning 37 years old in a few days, as he pushed Inoue, in his prime at 26 years old, to the limit of his skills and endurance.
While Donaire landed more solid punches in the first 4 rounds, Inoue got his groove in the 5th to the 7th, catching the four-division world champion with snappy jabs.
Donaire got his second wind in the 9th, staggering Inoue with a right and a left to the jaw.
He was also controlling the 10th, until Inoue came up with a late flurry.
The decision veered Inoue’s way when he tagged Donaire with that well-timed left. Donaire beat the count and survived Inoue’s onslaught to go the distance with the speedy puncher.
Showing utmost respect for Donaire, the 26-year-old Inoue even went to Donaire’s corner before the score was announced to thank the Filipino Flash for a great fight watched by a sellout crowd of 20,000. – Rappler.com