‘The Filipino Flash’ is a four-division world champion, known for incredible one-punch power and as a terrific ambassador for the sport.
And as a legend in the history of the World Boxing Super Series: Donaire conquered Ryan Burnett and Stephon Young before taking one of boxing’s brightest stars Naoya Inoue all the way in an unbelievable thriller, a modern-day classic also known as ‘The Drama in Saitama’– the consensus Fight of the Year 2019.
“There was never really a fear in me,” says 38-year-old Donaire on fighting ‘The Monster’back in November 2019. “I have never doubted my capability. I have never put anyone higher than I am. I never felt this kid could take me or knock me out.
“I had this kid running, and no one makes this kid run. When I hurt him when he got cut, he kept coming back with great punches, but I was like it hurt, but it didn’t hurt enough to take me out. I can take it, this is going to be a good fight. I was really having fun.”
Donaire caught Inoue with a right uppercut followed by a left hook that cut Inoue after two rounds – ‘The Monster’ suffered fractures to his right eye socket, he was wounded and shaken but came back and finished stronger to claim a unanimous decision. Donaire forced Inoue to retreat to the ropes in the 9th, Inoue dropped Donaire in the 11th. Plenty of drama to rhyme with Saitama.
“I hurt him, but he is a great, f–king amazing kid. He is a great fighter who has a lot of balls inside that ring. But we never knew that until he got hit. I knew that he was going to push farther and I wasn’t going to quit either.”
On the moment in the 9th round where it looks like Donaire had an opportunity for a sensational stoppage, Kalle Sauerland asks:
“Is it like the footballer who misses the penalty in a World Cup Final? Does it haunt you …that moment?
“For maybe half a year it haunted me,” says Donaire. “But with the pandemic, I started to realise what I lacked – my killer instinct. Usually, people when I hurt them they are done and over with, but that didn’t happen. But I believe the last fight (the Inoue fight) brought back me. The lack of killer instinct caused me the fight, but it also caused me to realise where I can be again.”
Therefore, the Filipino-American is not ready to pass the torch to Inoue.
“We gotta do it again, that’s it!” says Donaire on a potential Inoue-Donaire II.
Nonito Donaire is scheduled to fight Puerto Rico’s Emmanuel Rodriguez, WBSS 118 lbs semi-finalist, on December 19 in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Listen here & subscribe to ‘Kalle’s WBSS Hangouts’ on Apple Podcasts to hear Donaire’s incredible story and to follow the exciting Season III planning. Links to all Hangouts episodes on Apple Podcasts & Spotify below!