It's almost time. We can nearly reach out and touch it. Tuesday, June 7, 2022, is the most anticipated Tuesday in the history of the Gregorian calendar as Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire are set to renew hostilities at the Saitama Super Arena. After a rematch related appetizer and main course articles set the scene and provided details, it made sense to conclude the NYF pre-fight coverage with a prediction panel special.
I rounded up my writing colleagues and asked them how they saw “The Drama In Saitama 2” playing out. Read on, if only to pass the time until Tuesday. A dozen well-thought-out responses spiced up with reasoning and opinion await your consideration.
Ryan O'Hara: “Inoue by seventh-round TKO. Father Time is undefeated.”
David Phillips: “Donaire had scored the rarest of victories – a third act in the sport of boxing. But all curtains close, and while I think Donaire can make the early rounds interesting, age and Inoue will catch up to him. I've got Inoue by TKO in the 8th.”
Michael Woods: “Heart says Donaire, shouldn't head say, Inoue? Yes, probably, being that Inoue SHOULD be nearer to the fighting prime of his life, at age 29, than for Donaire, age 39. But, and this is a J-Lo size but, Donaire isn't regulation issue. He picked off unbeatens Nordine Oubaali and Reymart Gaballo in 2021, and when he insists he is very, very confident that he betters Inoue in this rematch faceoff, it's not prudent to scoff. However, age is NOT just a number. Inoue will prevail, via decision, with Donaire again proving that he's got more left in the tank and that he's a massive credit to the sport.”
Glen Sharp: “My Heart and head are in conflict. I wish the best for Donaire but don't see him lasting the distance.”
Gayle Falkenthal: “Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire put their peers to shame with their skills, heart, and courage. The younger Inoue won the first fight but paid the price with a monstrous broken face at the hands of the then 37-year-old Filipino Flash. Now 39, Donaire is defying the calendar with mind-blowing performances at this stage of his career. Can he summon what it takes to defeat Inoue? I'm rooting for the Filipino Flash to pull it off, but Inoue's talent is undeniable. Merely going the distance with Inoue in a competitive loss would do nothing to color my admiration for Donaire or slow down his trip to the IBHOF, but he won't settle for it. Let's hope neither man gets seriously hurt, and both walk away believing they gave their very best effort. Inoue by late-round attrition style TKO.”
Abraham Gonzalez: ” I think the mystique of ‘The Monster' Inoue has gone away for Nonito Donaire, and he is going to be smarter and sharper in this one. Andre Ward once said when talking about Sergey Kovalev that once the mystique is gone, it's over. Inoue is looking to regain some of the street cred he lost in that first fight when his face was broken, so he will come out aggressive in this one. It will be a great fight and one that will go to the scorecards, and contrary to popular belief, the old grizzly veteran Donaire will pull out the victory setting up the third fight in Southern California or Las Vegas later this year. Donaire by decision.”
James Lupton: “At 29, Inoue is hitting his prime years, which is scary considering how good he already is. Donaire, 39-years-old, is proving age is just a number. However, can the pair of punchers produce the same magic as they did in 2019? The man from Japan is nicknamed ‘The Monster' for a reason, and since defeating ‘The Filipino Flash,' he has wiped out three wannabe contenders. Nonito has been less active fighting just twice, both in 2021, spending the whole of 2020 out of the ring. This could prove fruitful as he hasn't added many more miles to his clock. Father Time does catch up with everyone eventually, and I think June 7 is his meeting with Donaire. My prediction is the referee calls a halt to the onslaught in the second half of the fight deeming Inoue the victor.”
Hector Franco: “Nonito Donaire is one of the few fighters in all of boxing that is liked by a vast majority of fans and the media. In many ways, it would be fantastic to see a fighter who can be considered one of boxing's few genuine good guys pull off another victory in an already all-time great career. People tend to forget that Donaire has only lost twice at bantamweight and below, and one of these losses came in just his second professional bout. However, with all the recent talk about pound-for-pound and who should be ranked at the top spot, Naoya Inoue is being left behind, having lost some momentum since signing with Top Rank. Despite the first fight being named the 2019 fight of the year, I believe Inoue is entering the rematch with Donaire with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. Look for Inoue to be the first fighter to stop Donaire at bantamweight.”
Jacob Rodriguez: “I believe we will experience a replica of the first fight for the first few rounds. Nonito will be game and will bring the very best out of himself. But this time around, ‘The Monster' will prove why he's considered one of the world's top fighters pound-for-pound. Inoue's power combined with youth will take their toll on Nonito, and ‘The Filipino Flash' will be reduced to a stagnant stroll in the later rounds. ‘The Monster' wins by knockout in the championship rounds.”
Marquis Johns: “Despite the record, I refuse to believe that Father Time is undefeated. The one-man that still has the stopwatch is Nonito Donaire. I'm looking forward to seeing if we get to round 13 of the World Boxing Super Series final to see if Donaire can continue his impressive run at 39. I know Inoue won their brawl in 2019, but I'm siding with Donaire and the upset here on points to get his revenge.”
Matt Andrzejewski: “I can't go against Inoue here. The first fight was great, and Donaire certainly had his moments, but it wasn't enough. I don't see what he can do differently this time around to change the outcome. I see this playing out much like the first fight with some exciting exchanges, but Inoue consistently landing the harder, cleaner, more eye-catching punches. If wagering on this fight, I don't mind taking a shot at Inoue by decision as Donaire has shown to have a very steady chin.”
Colin Morrison: “Anything could happen here. A case can be made for either man, but I'm siding with Inoue by late stoppage, which will provide us with a conclusive ending to a great fight.”
Final tally – Inoue 10; Donaire 2
WHEN IS INOUE VS. DONAIRE, DATE AND START TIME
Date: Tuesday, June 7
Main card: 5:30 a.m. ET / 2:30 a.m. PT/10:30 a.m BST
Main event ringwalks (approx): 7:30 a.m. ET / 4:30 a.m. PT/ 12:30 p.m BST
*These times are subject to change due to the length of the undercard fights.
WHAT CHANNEL/STREAM IS INOUE VS. DONAIRE?
Japan: Amazon Prime Video
U.K & Ireland: Top Rank Boxing YouTube Page
NAOYA INOUE VS. NONITO DONAIRE BETTING ODDS
Per FanDuel Sportsbook, Naoya Inoue is the favorite at -550, and Nonito Donaire is the underdog at +350.
Naoya Inoue: Decision +380; KO/TKO -185
Nonito Donaire: Decision +800; KO/TKO +600
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