Nonito Donaire Jr. fell short in his attempt to score an upset over fancied Japanese boxing champion Naoya Inoue on Thursday after losing by decision in the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament final at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
But it was such an explosive 12-rounder, wherein the future hall of famer showed flashes of his old deadly form against a heavy hitter 10 years younger than him.
The “Filipino Flash” was able to go toe-to-toe against the 26-year-old Naoya and if not for the knockdown he incurred in the 11th round, the result would have been different.
As early as the second round, both fighters were trading bombs. Inoue looked faster than Donaire, but the Filipino was able to catch up using his timing.
Donaire was able to open a large cut over Inoue’s right eye using a short left hook. Inoue, however, rallied back whenever he catches the Filipino Flash in a stationary position.
Donaire’s biggest round was the ninth when the Filipino ditched his potent left hook in exchange for successive overhand rights. The impact nearly knocked down Inoue.
The Japanese then stepped up his attack in the 11th and was able to sneak in a painful left to the body that forced Donaire to his knees.
But the 4-division champion was able to survive the round and tried to go for a homerun in the final frame.
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be as the younger Inoue was able to stay away from harm and fashion out a unanimous verdict.
The judges saw it 117-109, 116-111, 114-113 all for Inoue, who was able to unify the WBA, IBF and The Ring Magazine bantamweight titles. Inoue also took home the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
With the loss, the 36-year-old Donaire fell to 40-6 while Inoue climbed to his 19th victory.
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