Predicting what will or what might happen in a boxing match may not be a fool's errand, but plenty of us look foolish in retrospect what what we thought would happen doesn't.
I ponder that after having watching the World Boxing Super Series 118 pound finale, pitting a guy nicknamed “The Moster,” Naoya Inoue, against a man who was, c'mon, in over his head, Nonito Donaire.
In over his head, that's what so many pundits said, because, hello, “The Monster” has been whacking guys out with an assassin's efficiency.
Until Thursday in Japan, in a fight screening on DAZN in the US…
That's when a seasoned hand like me was reminded, yet again, to seek to remind myself, time and again, not to assume. Do not assume that because Inoue has been doing seek and destroy missions on foes to this point that the same progression would unfold against a future Hall of Famer.
This one went the distance, which not many people predicted. And though you had sages like Carl Frampton picking Donaire to win, you found yourself thinking, as you saw the man of Filipino descent in the game against Inoue, this one could well be the last stand of a proud but overmatched man.
HOLD ON…Blood…Was that blood on the face of “The Monster?
Indeed; on the eye, from the nose. “Godzilla,” some call him, and here was ole Mothra threatening to summon cinema level drama and shock. Godzillas never need stitches!
And then, down went Donaire…for the third time in his majestic career, he is a four weight world champ, it came off a body shot in round 11. The end was near!
A left hook from Donaire stung like an angry bee. He'd survive..and then some? Was he making his push to get Fighter of the Year, here? Mothra going to snag upset of the year?
“The Monster,” he was acting like that, though, when he kept on moving forward, ripping high and low, seeking that pound of flesh finish.
But, monsters typically get their prey and Inoue got the W.
It went 12, surprising in itself, when you saw Donaire eating right crosses, sharp left hooks…
The judges spoke, and offered these scores–117-09, too wide; 116-111; 114-113. Inoue is now 19-0 with 16 KOs, and better understanding of the one or two things he can improve to make himself that much more of a ring titan for the ages.
Donaire's record slips, to 40-6, with the understanding that our respect for him isn't diminished an ounce. He takes on all comers, with a stout heart, an open soul, and our full reverence aimed at him.
Once again, we saw an event which featured a “loser” whose stock rose. Donaire has been around so long, many current hardcore fans aren't fully aware of the breadth of his engagement with the sweet science. Get yourself onto YouTube…
and do that, people.
Donaire has been an immense credit to the sport, giving his all, demanding the sternest tests, plugging clean boxing, being a class act every step of the pathway. There will be ample time heap praise on “The Monster.” Let's take some extra time now to laud, fully and fairly, a massive credit to the sport, Nonito Donaire.