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Donaire says let's do it again

By Joaquin Henson
Sun, 10 Nov 2019

Nonito Donaire, Jr. said yesterday he’s open to fighting newly-crowned super WBA/IBF bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue in a rematch if that’s what Ringstar Sports CEO Richard Schaefer has in mind for the future as the undefeated Japanese is penciled for two bouts in the US and one in Japan next year under the Top Rank banner.

“If a rematch is on the table, let’s do it again,” said Donaire who engaged Inoue in a 12-round war and lost a unanimous decision before 20,000 fans at the Saitama Super Arena last Thursday. “A lot of people are asking why not do a rematch? If it’s something the Inoue camp wants, it would be my honor to accept in a polite way. I think it would be a heckuva fight, the second time around.”

Donaire, wife Rachel and their two sons are arriving here from Japan today and will visit Boracay and Bohol then fly to Manila to celebrate his 37th birthday on Saturday. The family will leave for home in Las Vegas on Nov. 21.

Donaire said after the grueling bout, he went to a nearby hospital for a check-up on his own. He underwent a CT-Scan and was given a clean bill of health. “My brain is good and healthy,” said Donaire. “I wanted to make sure I was OK so I decided to go to the hospital for an examination. All good, no fractures, no brain damage, no cuts, nothing serious, just some bruising.”

Donaire said he lost to Inoue fair and square. “It was a fair decision,” he said. “The fight was close and the knockdown in the 11th round was crucial. Inoue threw a left, it grazed my elbow but hit me in the stomach just as I breathed in. It wasn’t a hard shot but the timing was just right. Inoue threw harder punches earlier. I think Inoue was as surprised as I was that I got hurt badly, not by the power but by the timing of where and when the punch landed. I was out of breath so I decided to take a knee. I figured if I had fought on and stood, he would’ve pounced on me and one shot here or there could be damaging. It was a dangerous situation so I went down to recover from the shot. Then, I got up and battled back.”

Donaire said Inoue’s power wasn’t like Nicholas Walters’ because he’s in a different division. “Walters was a lot bigger than me and we fought in the featherweight division,” he said. “You can’t compare the power of those two fighters. Inoue has good power but I could take it. I didn’t get tired. The body shot took a toll on me and that’s why I wasn’t as aggressive in the last three rounds.”

It could’ve ended in the ninth round when Donaire staggered Inoue with a brutal right. Inoue’s legs turned rubbery and he desperately clinched to regain his balance. “My mistake was I waited for the opportunity to finish him off when he was hurt,” said Donaire. “I should’ve created the opportunity instead and it cost me the fight. Right off the bat, Inoue tried to go after me then he felt my power. I wanted to box him but it was difficult because as the fight went on, he wouldn’t engage.”

Donaire said he followed the game plan laid out by his trainers Kenny Adams and father Nonito, Sr. “They told me they’re proud of me for fighting the way I did,” he said. “Kenny wanted me to land the right more which I did. Papang wanted me to bang the body which I also did. I went toe-to-toe with Inoue and for the most part, it was a stalemate.”

Donaire said he’s not done fighting. “I’ll sit down with Richard when I get back to Las Vegas,” he said. “I’ll do what he thinks is best for my career. He’s a top guy in boxing and he knows what’s best, if I stay in the bantamweight division or move up. Everything will depend on the opportunities out there and I’m excited to explore the options available.”

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

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