By: Sean Crose
You might want to get up early on Tuesday, as a rematch of the classic Naoya Inoue-Nonito Donaire bout goes down in Japan. The first fight was perhaps the best match of 2019, with both men giving it more than all they had. Inoue walked away with the win, but there was every reason in the world for fans to want to see the two warriors throw down again. And so here we are once more, with each future Hall of Fame fighter ready to battle for bantamweight glory tomorrow at the Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Both men have wanted a rematch themselves, though it’s taken a bit for this one to come together thanks to considerable issues stemming from things like the Covid pandemic. Still, each man has kept fighting since their 2019 bout. Last May Donaire reached icon status when the then 38 year old Filipino knocked out Nordine Oubaali in four for Oubaali’s WBC bantamweight strap. The man known as the “Filipino Flash” then moved on to knock out Reymart Gaballo (once again in four) last November.
As for Inoue, the fighter known as “The Monster” has proven himself to be a monster time and time again…and it’s been business as usual for the Japanese star since he managed to edge Donaire back in 2019. In October of 2020, Inoue knocked out Jason Moloney in seven. In June of last year Inoue knocked out Michael Dasmarinas in three before moving on to then stop Aran Diapen in eight last December. At just 28 years of age, the 20-0 Inoue has continued to impress, while the 42-6 Donaire has continued to pleasantly surprise as he has pushed forty years of age. Again, this is a fight both the fans and fighters have wanted for some time – and with good reason.
This, frankly, is a good situation for Inoue to find himself in. Should he win, as he is expected to, the undefeated star will have a second victory over a future Hall of Famer under his belt. Yet this is also a good situation for Donaire to find himself in, as well. His career resurgence has been nothing but brilliant. A second loss to a future Hall of Famer like Inoue won’t tarnish his reputation at all. And, should Donaire pull off the upset, he’ll effectively make the leap from great fighter to living legend. No small thing.
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