Heaven knows, after the kind of savage, two-round hammering Nonito Donaire took in his return fight with “Monster” Naoya Inoue, plenty of us felt the 40 year old (in November) future Hall of Famer would see for himself that he had no other option than to retire. The shellacking Nonito took in June’s three-belt unification showdown was both shocking as well as quite stunning on the part of Inoue (who was promoted to the top spot in the P-4-P charts by, amongst others, the folks at Ring Magazine as a result of his lethal performance).
But despite the crushing defeat, despite his age – despite all he has achieved in boxing – Donaire still has lofty plans for the future. Speaking through Probellum, his promoters, “The Filipino Flash” said he now aims to drop down to 115 pounds and take on either Roman Gonzalez or Kazuto Ioka; the latter in a bid to win a world title at a fifth weight.
“It’s a really good fight with Chocolatito and people are saying it would be ‘legend versus legend.’ It’s a big fight,” Donaire, 42-7(28) said. “But I do like the Ioka fight as well because I want to get that title and become a five-division champion and then move back up to 118 and go for the undisputed crown once everything else is open and I get another opportunity for it.”
Think what you will here, but you have to admire the sheer desire Donaire has still got; to say nothing of the risks Nonito is still willing to take in order to be, well, I’d say great, but Donaire has already achieved that distinction. So again, why fight on at age 40, after such a nasty KO defeat? Donaire isn’t merely talking about tackling a Chocolatito or a Ioka; he is also speaking about going back up to bantamweight after that and trying not only to win back a belt there, but to become undisputed champ at 118 (this, presumably after Inoue has cleaned up and moved up).
But being realistic, what are Donaire’s chances of achieving what he is now aiming to achieve? Maybe no fighter other than Inoue could do to Donaire what the Japanese star did in June, and maybe Donaire can beat fellow veteran Gonzalez (who doesn’t currently hold a belt) as well as the more hittable as he’s gotten older Ioka (the reigning WBO champ at 115). Maybe.
Donaire has bounced back from “finished” status before, and the risks he’s taken in previous years proved to be worth it. But these latest plans may well equate to the biggest risks Donaire has EVER taken. But, boy, you’ve got to love Nonito’s sheer fighting heart and desire.