Donaire to tame ‘Monster’ for bantam title
On one hand, battle-scarred veteran Nonito Donaire Jr. will be trying to sustain a reboot to a career that has sputtered the past few years.
On the other, rising Japanese star Naoya Inoue will be trying to get to where he’s never been before.
That’s the scenario on Thursday when they dispute the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight championship at Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
Both easily made the weight on Wednesday, tipping the scales at 117.5 pounds.
“Official weigh-in is over and the only thing we can do is to get ready for fight night,” said Inoue, 26.
Inoue knocked out 16 of 18 foes, including the last two who didn’t last more than two rounds, to earn the nickname the “Monster.”
“We are going to show the greatest fight ever. A victory will be a very satisfying moment for me and it will be a very big step for a bright future,” the Japanese added.
He has a huge advantage in youth and the support of a home crowd over the 36-year-old Donaire, who will rely on his size and ring experience.
Donaire (40-5, 26 KOs) suffered a shocking KO loss five years ago at the hands of Nicholas Walters during the Filipino’s foray into the heavier, tougher featherweight division.
That, and a neat schooling he got from Cuban tactician Guillermo Rigondeaux, caused his career to spiral downward from as lofty as being the 2012 Fighter of the Year from almost all media outlets.
“Everything a fighter wants is to become the best of the best. I’ve been through it all and this is for me another step toward becoming undisputed,” Donaire said.
“Fighting Naoya Inoue has given me motivation. I’ve accomplished so much, so I needed someone to motivate me. It’s brought back my youth again because I have to be at my best,” Donaire said.