Advertisement: IBO Boxing

Donaire Has Deja Vu in Inoue, Much Like Darchinyan Fight

When Nonito Donaire is quizzed where he was on July 7, 2007, a night he was a heavy underdog in his first world title fight, he immediately remembers.

“That’s the day I knocked out Vic Darchinyan,” Donaire says without thinking twice.

Over the last dozen years, Donaire has faced and beaten some of boxing’s best that were thrown his way, including the much-feared Darchinyan that summer night, a knockout of the year winner and the first big win of his career that officially put him on the map.


Donaire will find himself in the same position Thursday as he did twelve years ago, already having secured what should be a Hall of Fame resume in between.

Much like Darchinyan was the dodged knockout master he ended up conquering, the Filipino fighter will step into the ring against Naoya Inoue, another heavy-handed man who’s earned the moniker of the “Monster” for his highlight-reel exploits.

The underdog Donaire is confident he will re-introduce himself on the big stage and continue resurrecting his career at the age of 37.

“I’m at the level and mindset where I feel strong, youthful and very confident. I not only have the hunger but the experience now too,” Donaire told in an interview. “I’ve never left. I am as dangerous as I was 10 years ago. I’m as as scary as I was 10 years ago, and that’s something that I will showcase against the Monster. He doesn’t fear me. With my ability and work ethic, and now experience, I can go even further.”

Donaire (40-5, 26 KOs), the WBA bantamweight champion, and Inoue (18-0, 16 KOs), the IBF crownholder, will also be fighting for the Ali Trophy as part of the final of the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on Nov. 7. The bout will stream on DAZN beginning at 5 a.m. ET.

Four years after defeating Darchinyan, Donaire scored another knockout of the year winner when he decapitated Fernando Montiel with one punch, winning the WBO and WBC bantamweight titles. After forays all the way up to featherweight, Donaire dropped back down to 118 before the beginning of the tournament (soon after he dropped a decision to Carl Frampton) because he feels he carries his power better as a bantamweight.

In five fights in the division, Donaire is undefeated with 3 KOs.

Donaire said that he hasn’t felt the rigors or strain of sizing down while training under the guidance of Kenny Adams at City Boxing in Las Vegas over the last two years.

“He’s allowed me to fight my way, and offered advice here and there of what’s important. He lets me be me,” said Donaire, who is also co-trained by his father, Nonito Sr. “You go with your experience and understand your body. Physically, I’m very strong. It’s never a physical thing when you burn out. It’s more of a mental thing. Whenever I get into zombie mode, it’s because I’m over training, so I take a step back and stop sparring or training for a couple of days. I know what to do at this point to get myself in peak form.”

Since resuming his career as a bantamweight as part of the WBSS, Donaire has found the fountain of youth, stopping Ryan Burnett in 2018 for the WBA title he currently owns, and viciously knocking out Stephon Young with his customary left hook earlier this year.

“I’m always adapting to situations, but 118 is the weight class I’m most comfortable and dangerous in,” said Donaire.

If Donaire dismantles Inoue, he will bookend his career with two improbable upsets and officially complete one of the more fascinating resurrections any fighter has enjoyed of recent memory.

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by slimPickings on 11-07-2019

What a fight! Inoue was taken to places he had never been to. Ate flush shots that would have slept any other fighter. But showed why he is always mentioned in P4P discussions. Inoue is the complete package. Forget the…

Comment by MDPopescu on 11-07-2019

[QUOTE=..David..;20173264][B]Nonito its a very likeable guy[/B] but this fight is very different ... not only is he way past his prime but also inoue is waaay better than Vic ever was[/QUOTE] Nonito always was likable... but he's so old by…

Comment by Jorge13 on 11-07-2019

[QUOTE=lowblows420;20173736]I smell all the jap fans getting nervous cause they know donaire is going to pretty much go to jail after this fight for destroying this little girl[/QUOTE]Same here. I’m predicting Inoue will be ahead in the scorecards but Nonito…

Comment by lowblows420 on 11-07-2019

I smell all the jap fans getting nervous cause they know donaire is going to pretty much go to jail after this fight for destroying this little girl

Comment by JonDelPrado on 11-07-2019

If he’s really comparing Darchinyan to Inoue he’s gone bye bye. Donaire fights emotional and gets frustrated easily during fights. He’s getting beat to a pulp tonight (here in Tokyo).

Top Headlines
Dominic Boesel vs. Robin Krasniqi on October 10 in Magdeburg DiBella, Hearn Battling Over Issues Related To Kambosos-Selby Eliminator Contreras vs. Flores Tops October 2 Boxeo Telemundo Fall Season Premiere Gabriel Flores vs. Ryan Kielczweski on Baranchyk-Zepeda Card Filip Hrgovic vs. Alexandre Kartozia Set - Pala is Now Out Jeison Rosario Promising an "Epic War" With Jermell Charlo Meng Fanlong Breaks From Roc Nation, Now a Free Agent Jaime Munguia vs. Tureano Johnson - Finalized, October 30, DAZN Víctor Pasillas: I'm Willing To Fight Anyone To Get To The Next Level UK Boxing: Fans Dealt Blow, Crowds Not Returning Any Time Soon Nery: Would Really Love To Hold World Titles In Two Divisions At Same Time Josh Taylor: Whether Ramirez Fight Is In Scotland Or America, I'm Not Fussed Rosario: It Has Been Easier For Me To Train During Pandemic, No Distractions Charlo Twins Vow Same In-Ring Energy Even Without Fans In Attendance Panama Lewis, Requiem For a Cheater Maxi Hughes Aims To Continue Big Run in Viktor Kotochigov Fight Yildirim's Promoter Hopes Canelo Alvarez Deal Gets Done Reynoso Confident Andy Ruiz Can Accomplish Even More in Career Niall Kennedy Vows To Shut The Mouth of Alen Babic Daniel Roman: I Gotta Look Good, Send a Message I'm Still The Champ Jermall Charlo: My Toughest Fight Was Korobov On Date Jermell Got Robbed Of His Title Josh Taylor Admits That He Hasn't Secured Recognition He Deserves Alejandro Davila Very Motivated To Shock Serhii Bohachuck Shannon Briggs: Jones Having Second Thoughts? Tag Me In - I'll Fight Tyson! Villa Promoter: Ruben Will Rise To Occasion, Beat Emanuel Navarrete Jermell Charlo: Me & Jermall Will Leave Legacy Like Klitschko Brothers Chocolatito Will Head To Mexico To Finish Camp For Gonzalez Fight Euro News: Serrano-Mahfoud?, Faust, Olsen, Ziani, Much More Derevyanchenko Vows To Apply Pressure Early, Start Faster on Charlo Chris Kongo Confident That He Would Knock Conor Benn Out Roy Jones Jr. Putting in Work For Mike Tyson Clash Ricards Bolotniks Wants a 'Real Fight, Real War' With Hosea Burton Lomachenko To Lopez: If You Say Something - You Need To Prove It in The Ring! Josh Taylor: Not Often You Get To Fight For All The Belts, The Fight I Want Next Lubin: Gausha Was Badly Hurt; Could've Stopped Him If I Had 1 More Minute Spence on Charlo-Rosario: Jermell is Going To Try To Dominate, Knock This Dude Out Muhammad Ali Comparisons Are "Inappropriate" Says Khabib Nurmagomedov Nakathila's Promoter Open To Stevenson Fight For WBO Belt if Herring Vacated 2020 USA Boxing National Championships: Shreveport to Host Fury Dares Joshua: If I'm Old and Need To Retire - Come and Retire Me!
Latest Forum Threads