Inoue demolishes Donaire in two

Inoue Donaire Ko15

By Joe Koizumi
Photos: Naoki Fukuda

Unbeaten “Monster” Naoya Inoue (23-0, 20 KOs), 118, unified the WBC, WBA and IBF bantamweight belts as he annihilated Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire (42-7, 28 KOs), 117.75, at 1:24 of the second round on Tuesday in Saitama, Japan. Naoya quickly decked Nonito with a solid right counter in the closing seconds of the opening session with the Filipino having a narrow escape. The second round witnessed Monster accelerate his attack and finally decked Filipino Flash with a vicious left hook following a flurry of strong and accurate shots to the face.

Inoue Donaire Ko14

The victor jubilantly said, “I intended to be one-sidedly victorious like this. I did it.” He strongly wishes to unify the four belts with WBO ruler Paul Butler within this year and then move up to the 122-pound category.

(More to come)


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  • Absolutely sensational. Very rarely do I see a fight these days where I am literally shaken by a performance. Absolute machine!

    • Wow he is so deadly for that weight class. Nonito has actually looked really good lately. I’m glad it was quick for his sake and hopefully didn’t suffer too much damage. Monster has to get consideration for #1 P4P. He’s a special fighter.

  • I had a feeling this was going to be an easier win for Inoue but this was a blowout. Donaire couldn’t avoid the shots

  • time to hangup nonito!
    inoue should go up in weight and fight the top dog there

    • If he can’t get the fight to be undisputed, then yes. Very impressive. Very hard to pick a current top ten on Pound for Pound with so many significant and/or historic wins coming in quick succession.

  • It is obvious Inoue is a generational fighter and on another level. I want to give credit and respect to Donaire for going into the lions den and facing the challenge at 38 years old…whatever you want to say about Donaire..he is humble..a class act…a hall of famer…& a warrior. one more thing just look at who Donaire has lost to in his career.

  • Now that was some special ish…Inoue moving …throwing fast accurate fluid punches with bad intentions… excellent counter combinations…not just counter shots..he countered with power combinations…and of most importance finished a very game Donaire…Donaire stalked with a jab…Donaire tried to use timing for Inoue speed…Donaire did everything correct …like a seasoned champion..Inoue just sharper …faster …that counter short right hand that cause the first knockdown was beautiful..Inoue did not allow Donaire to get that engine started to initiate an effective game plan…Finished a game Donaire effectively …busted Donaire up in two rounds…Haney…Shakur…take a page from this kid…smart effective boxing …knowing how and when to finish an opponent.. understand key..public want to see winning and finishing spectacular…be Matador like…know when to finish… maybe just witnessed the next great thing…Just damn!!!!

    • Donaire landed some good shots initially and the first round was pretty interesting and competitive until the knockdown, which W’s a damaging blow. Donaire simply could not hold off Inoue in the second round long enough to recover his legs. Inoue was extremely poised, efficient and impressive to force the stoppage in Round 2.

    • Julian, I agree with Sean. Monster closes the show with scintillating wickedness! Unlike the very boring Haney and Shakur who put me to sleep after a round of pitty pat bullshit! So what’s wrong with that you despicable toilet matter….

  • Guys ..that was special enough for a double take….Just damn!!!! exhilarating…fun to watch…

    • Fun for us to watch but scary for anyone that’s going to get in the ring with him. How do you come up with a game plan for that?! Whoever is next should sell advertising space on the bottom of their shoes.

  • Well done Inoue, def pound for pound one of the best, Now if he could only get that WBO belt?

  • After this fight, I don’t even look at Donaire and say that he’s 39, he’s old and he should call it a career. I think he could fight on and beat some really good fighters. If he beat Paul Butler or Casimero or Moloney, I wouldn’t be surprised at all and he’s also said he could drop to 115. If he did that and competed with Estrada and Chocolatito and Ioka, again, I’m not surprised. Knocked out two undefeated world champions in his previous 2 fights and he’s gone 4-3 in his last seven. Those seven opponents (six really because Inoue twice) had a combined TWO losses and the ones that beat him were Inoue and Frampton. I HOPE Donaire continues.

    But Inoue is just special. He’s already the best Japanese fighter most of us have ever seen and he’s just 29 years old. That was absolutely brilliant!

    • Lucie: Good perspective. Donaire has had really good performances recently. But do not like the thought of him continuing too long.

      • I agree Henry, not too much longer. He’ll be 40 in November, if he wanted to go on another year or so fighting top level guys, I’d have no problem with it – especially if he dropped down. Looking at him in against Oubaali and Gaballo, both of those guys hit him clean a few times but he was just too big and strong for them. Imagine what he might be able to do at 115. I think he has a legit shot at being 5 weight world champion, if he’s interested and I hope he is. Even if he isn’t what a career Donaire has had!

    • I felt the same way Lucie. Donaire does not appear old or shot. He was just in there with a special fighter in his prime. Something about Donaire vs Chocolatito really excites me. I think the Monster will likely take care of Butler and Casimero. I remember Inoue was going to fight Casimero in Vegas but was called off due to the pandemic. It would have likely been a reasonably priced fight to go to. If Donaire beats Chocolatito and Casimero loses to Inoue then Donaire and Inoue could have that long awaited Filipino showdown. I have it all mapped out! LOL!!!!

      • lol, you got it all worked out Pete! The one snag in your plan might be Casimero who might be having weight problems. If he has to go up to 122 and Donaire’s saying he can make 115, that fight might no be doable. I agree with you about Donaire – Chocolatito, that sounds fantastic. And I don’t think that he will, but if Nietes beats Ioka, Nietes – Donaire in the Philippines??!

        • I would like to see more of Casimero although I think people who have committed heinous crimes should be forced to watch and score his fight with Rigondeaux again and again!

  • Damn!!! forgot about this fight. Inoue dont get enough credit when the best fighters p4p are discussed.

  • A great display of power at the weight, but Donaire at 39 should pack it in. Axeman, that Armenian Aussie, the now retired Irishman and now this guy has brutalized him, eventually that type of punishment will tell on ya.

  • Good fight. Donaire was working hard and getting some things done until BANG he was on his ass. Inoue was efficient and ruthless. A+

    • That what makes this fight great ….Donaire was live.. effective aggression…this was gearing up to be a fight….and that is what makes Inoue special…Inoue “finished” ..Donaire before this turn into a shootout….Haney and Shakur and others talk about just winning even if boring… understand that completely …….the fans want to see this….maybe not Ray Robinson like but flashes of Ray Leonard…. excellent movement and countering with power shots and finishing…that is the key “finishing”

      • Come on Sean, Inoue is a power puncher. Those guys you named are pure boxers. No point in making the comparison.

        • Understand Kp and slightly agree…has something to do with ring intelligence..this is a fighter being on that “level”…you don’t have to be a power puncher to know when to counter effectively with power shots and finish fights….pure boxers..can do that also..knowing when to box and mix in finishing shots..and finish opponents..Alexis Arguello..Salvador Sanchez..Aaron Pryor..Janes Toney…box the hell out of you …finish with shots at any time during the fight….
          Kp .. understand ..what made this special is that Inoue accomplish in two rounds what takes your average to about average fighter 8 to 10 rounds to do….that is effective movement against and punching ..counter punching..and finishing against a another great fighter…an opponent that is just as great …Donaire …displaying excellent timing…jabbing doing everything right… usually have to break down a fighter like Donaire over rounds to get the finish…..Inoue did this in two…freaking two rounds…
          YOU CANT JUST ATTRIBUTE WHAT I SAW TO POWER PUNCHING…in this fight…I saw the specialness…the ring intelligence…all in two rounds…this is a fight that upcoming fighters should study

          • What is really crazy though is Donaire got up!!!! And was ready to fight….and Inoue was ready to give Donaire more…I was looking for Donaire to survive the early assault and come back with his own…Inoue did not want that drama…finished Donaire

          • Sean, while I agree with you that the fight was a sign of a special fighter, I disagree with you on this being the fight future opponents should watch to see how special he is. Inoue has been my favorite fighter since 2014 and the win against Narvaez as a sign that this kid is pure gold. And I was late to the party as this was his second division he took over. Every fight since then has just been explosive showing his ring generalship, power, and timing. But the first Donaire fight showed us true greatness. It showed us what Tank, Crawford, and Spence have yet to show us. It showed us what Inoue will do when he is in against a great fighter that refuses to lose and pushes him hard, what he will do when an opponent breaks his bones by throwing monster punches of his own, what he will do when the pain game starts. What Inoue did was won. He fought through the pain and adversity and came through the other side. And to adapt and close the book on the rematch in this fashion is just remarkable. It is what Floyd should have done in the rematches with Castillo and Maidaina. It is what Canello should have done in the rematch with GGG. It is what Pac-Man should have done in the 3 rematches with JMM (but what he was able to do in the rematch with Morales). So while this fight wasn’t a fight to show you the brilliance of Inoue, it was a fight that was Inoue doing what he does and a fight to show that he is a fighter of legendary skill.

            I for one hope he never moves up again. He is at his best at this weight. Donaire was already significantly bigger than him. He should stay at Bantamweight and let the hordes come to him, try to take his titles. Moving up is to accept a disadvantage for Inoue. And as we saw with Loma, no matter how good you are, accepting a significant size disadvantage will get you beat eventually.

          • By upcoming …I meant all fighters…not just future opponents…fighters should study this fight for all the reasons you stated and some,.Holt you talked about Inoue’s heart….don’t know what the future hold for him…but for now I just witnessed some special stuff.,., Crawford fought Porter ..and Crawford stopped Porter in the late rounds..Many consider Crawford to be great..Porter is not on the level as Donaire…and Inoue finished Donaire in the second round…Inoue not as experienced as Crawford…Guys that was some special stuff

          • Moving up in weight should be very calculated and safe. If you find a skilled, power puncher bigger than you there will be always much pain. I think that when he will be defeated, he will figure out on this. Louis Nery docet!

  • I’ve learned to never pick against Donaire, but damn this was about as decisive as I’ve ever seen! Glad it wasn’t a 10-12 round beating! This kid has scary power!! Nonito has earned the right to do whatever he wants moving forward, but I really hope he calls it a day. No sense in being a soon to be Hall of fame gate keeper……NO!!!!

  • It is always sad to see an all time great like Donaire go out in such a devastating manner. Kind of remanence of what Marciano did to the aging all time great in Joe Louis. Age eventually catches up with you and it really shows when you step in the ring with an elite fighter like Inoue in their prime.

    • This was not about age Donaire did not show that he was aging…Donaire was actually displaying effective aggression and boxing well…Donaire got beat by a special fighter …in this fight…no signs of aging

  • Donaire was 39 years old fighting at bantamweight (lighter fighters don’t last long), took punishment the last fight against Inoue, and has been stopped 2 times in 7 losses. While Inoue is a good fighter and certainly worth a top 10 pound for pound ranking (not top 3, maybe top 5), this was not a big win; don’t understand all of the hoopla, everyone relax,

    • We know the motive for your post, and yours should also stop attacking their’s on the street for no reason. Envy is a helluva drug.

  • I thought Inoue would stop Donaire late. This is probably better as it prevented a potentially dangerous extended beatdown. Donaire has had a great career but you can only go to the well so many times as a 39 yr old bantamweight.

  • I would have loved to see Inoue vs Marco Antonio Barrera (at 118lbs)

  • Inoue I believe in the West is one of the most underrated fighters, simply because of cultural, geographical and lack of massive exposure compared to Western fighters. It seems clear Inoue will go after that last belt to unify the 118lbs, Butler is a good fighter but will be up against a literal monster. Should Inoue win, then try a fight at 122lbs against a solid fighter in the division such as Tapales, Leo or Roman. Waiting on the potential fight of Fulton vs M.A/Rios winner to go after all the belts in one fight.

  • what Naoya Inoue should do is move up in weight classes like Pacquiao did and lets see if he can break Pacquiao record of winning major world titles in eight different weight classes. Manny Pacquiao is the only boxer in history to have won twelve major world titles in eight different weight divisions. this should be inoue goal is too beat manny Pacquiao record?

  • I knew Inoue would KO him but I didn’t know he was going to do it in that fashion and that quickly. He brutalized him.

    And this is why I said Donaire didn’t deserve this fight and he politicked his way out of possibly getting beaten by Casimero just to get this rematch. Him and his wife are disturbing. Well he got what he deserved this morning.

  • Top five p4p and going to no 1 fast
    Like a smaller Kostya Tszyu impossible to ignore
    Ability and power

    • Inoue has already proven himself to be far superior than Tszyu ever was. He has a record of 18-0 in world title fights across 3 divisions. Tszyu retired with a record of 14-2-1 in title fights. Rather than Tszyu, Inoue reminds me of a young Roy Jones jr in his prime. Not in his style, but in the fact that he is so much faster than his opponents that they look like they are in slow motion and he seems to know what they are going to do before they do it. Roy is the only other fighter I’ve ever seen be that way against top level opposition. Inoue is really something special.

  • And still p4p #1. Inoue will obliterate Butler for 4 belt undisputed and then face off with Fulton or Akh at 122.

  • Best fighter out of Japan ever and my pound for pound number one to date..

  • Inoue will be a 50:1 favorite against Butler. With Kambosos gone, Butler’s probably the weakest reigning champion in boxing.

  • Inoue is one of the best fighters who gets paid the least. He got 350k plus PPV revenue for this fight. Adds another title to his resume and probably has to fork out heaps of cash just to pay stupid sanction fees to have the belts. Pay this man his due!

  • Watching the fight, I thought the ref stopped it to early. But noticed Nonito did not complain would hope that instead of boxing Butler (how long will that last) he would fight someone like a Estrada, Gonzalez, or the Thai boxer who is 3 and 1 against them, and even Ioka.
    Donaire should retire. He is deserving of the Hall of Fame, and one wonders if he had been content at Batam Weight early in his career, how good he would be thought of. Inoue was fortunate I think not to be the Donaire of some 9 or 10 years ago. Certainly Inoue should be considered as one of the two greatest Japanese boxers, the other Fighting Harrada.

    • Always someone that wants to claim quick stoppage when it was obvious this was going from bad to violently worse. Donaire wasn’t catching any of those shots with his gloves

  • The dude looks like a middle schooler. Yet fights like, well, a monster. I foresee a bunch of fighters moving on to other weight classes like Pronto

  • I’m still in utter shock regarding the outcome of this fight. Inoue was favored to win but in no way did I think he would vanquish Donaire with such surgical devastation and ease. This truly was more a case of Inoue being extraordinary than a case of Donaire being past it. There’s something very unusual about Inoue’s power and speed. While Inoue’s win was legit, I’ll say this…if I were a manager of a fighter about to face Inoue, there’s no way in hell I’d let Inoue fight my guy wearing Reyes gloves, especially after watching this massacre.

  • This is what I was afraid of. Inuoe is a force to be reckoned with at the peak of his career and Donair could not withstand the speed the power and the pressure. It is time for Donair to retire. He has been great for the sport – a soft-spoken and gracious multi-time champion assured of his place in the Boxing Hall of Fame.

  • `i missed the fight donaire belongs in the boxing hall of fame inoue is a tough fighter and donaire took him on twice like to see him retire gracefully

  • A star “Monster” is born. I can’t wait to see more of him. Donaire has put on a great performance in the second half of his career. Hopefully he rides off into the sunset.

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