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Donaire ready to rock and roll tonight

By Joaquin Henson
Thu, 07 Nov 2019

Take it from legendary US Olympic boxing coach Kenny Adams who has worked with over 60 world champions and will be in Nonito Donaire, Jr.’s corner when he faces Naoya Inoue in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) bantamweight final at the Saitama Super Arena tonight. Adams predicted that despite Inoue being a 10-1 favorite, Donaire will win by a sixth round knockout.

“We’ve got a great strategy and that’s the big difference,” said the 79-year-old Adams. “Nonito’s experience will be a factor. Of all the fighters I’ve trained and I’m counting 60 to 70, Nonito’s the hardest-working guy. His power’s amazing. He’s ready to rock and roll. He’s smarter than most people give him credit for. I know about the odds and I’m told they’ve gone down. I’m not sure if the oddsmakers know their boxing. They rely on theory. I don’t go for that. I’m predicting Nonito wins in six.”

Referee for the fight will be Pittsburgh’s Ernie Sharif who worked Felix Alvarado’s knockout win over Filipino Randy Petalcorin for the vacant IBF lightflyweight title at the Midas Hotel last year. The judges are Robert Hoyle of Las Vegas, Octavio Rodriguez of Panama and Luigi Boscarelli of Italy. The supervisors are Ben Keilty of Australia and Tsuyoshi Yasukochi of Japan.

“I realize there will be a lot of fans cheering for Inoue,” said Adams. “But that doesn’t matter. Nonito’s been there, done that. I’m happy for this. We’re upbeat and confident. We want to take it out of the judges’ hands. All we need from the referee is to count to 10. Will I bet on Nonito? I’ve never bet on my fighters but this time, I’m seriously thinking about it. I may or may not. I’ll decide before the fight.”

MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons will leave Manila for Japan this morning to witness the fight at ringside. His plan is to pit two-time world champion Johnriel Casimero against the winner, assuming the Filipino slugger dethrones WBO titleholder Zolani Tete in Birmingham on Nov. 30. Gibbons said he picks Inoue to beat Donaire.

“Donaire does well for a few rounds then gets slowly gridded down and I think, he loses by decision or late stoppage,” said Gibbons. “I don’t think Donaire has a puncher’s chance. Inoue’s a rough guy and a machine on offense but his defense is a little suspect. Coach Kenny knows boxing and if Donaire wins, it’ll be as big as Sen. Manny (Pacquiao) beating (Keith) Thurman.”

As for Casimero, Gibbons said after he disposes of Tete, the target is the Inoue-Donaire survivor. “Casimero is coming for the winner,” he said. “Regarding (IBF superflyweight champion) Jerwin (Ancajas), by the time he goes to 118, Inoue will be at 122.”

Ancajas’ manager/trainer Joven Jimenez said he’s not discounting a Donaire victory. “Explore niya lahat ng strategy sa early rounds kung paano talunin si Inoue, lalo na kung hindi siya magmamadali, 50-50 chance,” said Jimenez.

Donaire’s corner will consist of Adams, his father Nonito, Sr., cutman Mike Bazzel and Cameron Fort. “Jun is very relaxed and is more than ready to win,” said Donaire’s father-in-law Gerry Marcial who’s in charge of the team’s security. “Jun is so ready that I myself bet $5,500. When Jun wins, it will net me $40,000. This won’t last more than four rounds if Inoue chooses to engage. I think he’s meant to run and use points to try to win. I believe the first round will be a feeling out process and Jun will test him out. The second to the fourth will be the knockout rounds if Inoue’s corner doesn’t surrender like (Toshiaki) Nishioka.” Donaire stopped Nishioka in the ninth round in Carson, California, in 2012. Nishioka is the only Japanese fighter whom Donaire has fought.

Donaire’s long-time Japanese friend Masa Ueda said he expects an exciting fight. “I don’t want to think or say who’s better or who’s going to win but one thing I can say is that Nonito looks great,” Ueda said. “I haven’t seen him look this great in a long time in training.”

Inoue said Donaire’s only advantage is his experience. “He has been in many big fights,” said Inoue. “He is taller and his reach is longer but that’s something we’ve prepared for.” As for Donaire, he said: “Height doesn’t matter, size doesn’t matter. Ultimately, it’s about the game plan and I believe I have the game plan to beat Inoue. And my experience will carry me through.”

Photo: Nonito Donaire, Jr. (right) and Naoya Inoue with the Muhammad Ali Trophy to be awarded to the winner of their fight in Saitama tonight (Photo by Thomas Malilay).

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.

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