Nonito Donaire isn’t too concerned about where he is ranked within boxing’s imaginary hierarchy.
The four-division titlist and current WBC 118-pound beltholder was recently asked about his “pound-for-pound” credentials, and if he thinks he will land a top spot should he come out victorious against his bantamweight title unification rematch against WBA, IBF titleholder Naoya Inoue this Tuesday at the Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Suffice to say, the Filipino-born, Las Vegas resident has other priorities in mind,
“I don’t really think about that stuff, man,” Donaire said on The DAZN Boxing Show. “For me it’s really about the focus, the goal of becoming undisputed. Getting this belt and getting the other belt. The mindset is pretty much that."
Their first meeting, a barnburner that was regarded as one of the best fights in 2019, ended with a points win in favor of the hard hitting Japanese champion. The winner of their upcoming fight, which takes place at the same venue as their 2019 meeting, at the Saitama Super Arena outside of Tokyo, will have three of the four 118-pound belts. Paul Butler of England holds the other title (WBO).
“I’m driven by beating this kid,” Donaire said of Inoue. “I’m driven by becoming the undisputed. That’s the only thing that I don’t have on my résumé.”
Donaire, who at 39 is 10 years older than Inoue, picked up two straight wins last year since his loss to Inoue in 2019, stoppages over then titlist Nordine Oubaali and Reymart Gaballo.
Donaire (42-6, 28 KOs) promises that he will employ a smarter strategy against Inoue (22-0, 19 KOs) in their rematch.
“Well, I came in there without a game plan,” Donaire said. “I came in there with just sheer guts. It was just me trying to bully the kid. He came up pretty strong. He was tough, he was tough. I didn’t expect that from him. He can crack too. One thing for me was I just came in with the mindset of fighting. This time I’m coming in with everything.”