Donaire to use Puerto Rican foe for shot at Inoue
Filipino boxing star Nonito Donaire, in trying to write the perfect ending to storied career, will face a dangerous Puerto Rican on Dec. 19 in the hope of landing one last shot at unbeaten Japanese champ Naoya Inoue.
The 38-year-old Donaire vowed to recover his “killer instinct” when he takes on Emmanuel Rodriguez for the vacant WBC World bantamweight title in Uncasville, Connecticut.
“But with the pandemic, I started to realize what I lacked—my killer instinct. Usually, when I hurt people, they are done and over with. But that didn’t happen,” Donaire said in a podcast hosted by World Boxing Super Series chief boxing officer Kalle Sauerland.
The Ring’s 2012 Fighter of Year was referring to his brutal unanimous decision loss to the Japanese in November last year where he rocked him early on—breaking his orbital bone—only to steam down the stretch.
“But I believe the last fight brought me back. The lack of killer instinct caused me the fight, but it also caused me to realize where I can be again,” Donaire added.
He was looking for that finishing finesse that has been absent since he moved up from 118 lbs and forayed in a heavier division several years ago.
Now that Donaire (40-6-0 with 26 KOs) is back in his old division, he is looking at scoring an impressive victory and blip back into Inoue’s radar.
But standing in his way is Rodriguez (19-1-0, 12 KOs), whose last fight, incidentally, was against Inoue, too. In May of last year, Rodriguez suffered a second-round KO loss at the hands of the heavy-hitting champ.
And on account of his more competitive result with Inoue, Donaire is confident he could deliver a showcase performance that characterized the early part of his career.
“We gotta do it again. That’s it!” Donaire said of a potential Inoue-Donaire II.
It won’t be that easy, though, as several opponents are waiting in the wings to get a piece of Inoue, including the brash Filipino champ John Riel Casimero, holder of the WBO version of the title. INQ
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.