By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Less than a month from now Nonito Donaire (40-5,26KO’s) of the Philippines and Naoya Inoue (18-0,16KO’s) of Japan will be punching their way into history. It is the kind of match-up that has always intrigued generations of boxing fans; age and experience versus youth, a lion in winter against a young deadly predator. It is also a unification match as well as the finals of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) bantamweight tournament.
Both are heating up in their preparations. Inoue has tapped Filipino sparring partners – Albert Pagara and Genesis Servania. Donaire on the other hand announced that he will move his training camp from the U.S. to the Philippines on October 20.
Inoue has only fought a total of three rounds in the WBSS tourney, having disposed of Juan Carlos Payano of the Dominican Republic in one round and Puerto Rican Emmanuel Rodriguez in two rounds in the semi-finals. The win against Rodriguez earned Inoue the IBF world title.
Donaire’s resume is certainly enough for a first ballot entry into the Boxing Hall of Fame once he retires. He has distinguished himself in five weight categories.But there are those who refer to his greatness in the past tense. Five years ago, he dropped out of everyone’s pound for pound list following losses to Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux and Jamaican Nicholas Walters.
Joining the WBSS bantamweight tournament revived his career. There were doubts among the pundits considering that he last time he fought as a bantamweight was in 2011. But it was at bantamweight where he did some of his best work, notably the bone-chilling 2011 Knockout of the Year against Mexican Fernando Montiel.
Donaire, who holds the WBA crown, will turn 37 on November 16. Fans who are rooting for him say he still has enough in the tank against Inoue, who is 26 years old, with three division titles in his resume. Inoue’s 88 percent knockout rate is certainly no joke.
Tickets are reported to be sold out which underscores the great interest for this fight set at the 36,500-seat Super Saitama Arena in Japan on November 7.
In short, this will be the biggest bantamweight fight for this decade.
The bantamweight category is one of the original eight weight divisions in boxing.
George Dixon of Canada is recognized as the first bantamweight world champion in history way back in 1890. Dixon also holds the distinction of being the first black man to win a world championship in any sport.
But the current 118 pound limit of the division was established in 1909 by the National Sporting Club of London.
Great bantamweights in history include Carlos Zarate of Mexico, Fighting Harada of Japan, Ruben Olivares of Mexico,Eder Jofre of Brazil, and Orlando Canizales of the U.S. Canizales holds the record for title defenses in the bantamweight division; He successfully retained the IBF belt 16 times from 1988 to 1994.
Will Donaire-Inoue live up to the hype and be remembered as one of the great fights in bantamweight history?
During the 80th Anniversary of Ring Magazine in 2002, their commemorative issue named Arnold Taylor KO14 Romeo Anaya as the greatest bantamweight fight of the last 80 years.
That fight held in 1973 in Johannesburg saw the South African Taylor get knocked in the fifth, three times in round eight, and once again in the tenth then staging a rally, knocking out the Mexican Anaya in the fourteenth round with one punch to the jaw and taking the WBA title.
The 1977 Mexican civil war between Carlos Zarate and Alfonso Zamora was also one for the history books. They respectively held the WBC and WBA belts but neither organization sanctioned their bout as a unification. But it was one of the most highly anticipated matches from that era and dubbed The Battle of the Z Boys.
In fact, the Los Angeles Police department sent an anti-riot squad to the venue, the Forum in Inglewood, to prevent any untoward incidents. Both were undefeated and known for their knockout power. Zarate prevailed, knocking down Zamora in the third and twice in the fourth round for the TKO victory.
Donaire was supposed to face South African Zolani Tete in the WBSS Semis but a shoulder injury forced Tete to pull out of the tournament. Donaire stopped substitute Stephon Young in six rounds.
Now, Tete (28-3, 21KO’s) will be defending his WBO world title against Filipino John Riel Casimero (28-4,19KO’s), who aside from the interim WBO belt, has previously held IBF world titles at 108 and 112 lbs. This fight, possibly will be on November 23 in London and could very well be another bantamweight classic in the making.
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.