Inoue is actually an accomplished defensive fighter and at times, glides around the ring as if floating. We all know about his punching power and punch quality.
Particulars: From Las Vegas, June, 19, 2021 Streaming: ESPN+ | TV: ESPN (Main) / Sky Sports (UK)(DAZN) it’s Naoya ’Monster’ Inoue vs. Michael "Hot and Spicy" Dasmarinas, Bantamweights.
Background: Naoya Inoue was cruising along, easily getting the best of Nonito Donaire - though Donaire was a qualitative step up for the Japanese star. Donaire, moderately past his best, still posed problems that the Monster hadn’t seen before. This was in November, 2019, ’B.C.’ before Covid...
Monster says he was seeing double from the second round and by 5, was fighting purely on instinct. (And courage.) The blow he received fractured his right orbital bone. He also sustained a broken nose during the bout. He was on a stretcher after the bout and truthfully, seemed far more injured than the loser, Donaire.
Family man Inoue (who does not want his two sons fighting) is intelligent and pleasant outside the ring, and pretty damn monstrous in it. His fans, he says, should not expect him to always win by knockout. He says he wants to fight another eight years which, given his style, is absurd.
Inoue badly hurt Donaire with a huge left body shot in the eleventh round. For reasons I can’t fathom, he didn’t immediately fire huge shots at his defenseless opponent.
Which meant Inoue and his broken orbital had to absorb more hard shots in both the 11th and 12th during Donaire rallies.
In contrast, in recent weeks Donaire - a fighter I’ve always liked, not to mention - lived close to me in my California days - clearly fouled Nordine Oubaali with a shot after the bell which effectively ended the fight. Fighters have fantastic timing. Time stands still for great fighters. Donaire could have stopped at the bell. Instead, he used Referee Jack Reiss’s terrible positioning - and showed Oubaalie no mercy. Mysterious or a bad night for Reiss? Maybe a bad night - but I was shocked when fairly conservative folks like ESPN went on and on about it. A referee, after all doesn’t have that many things to think about. Being in position at the bell is one of them.
Before the Donaire fight, I felt that Inoue was a great fighter, but perhaps his reputation preceded him just a bit. He should have left Japan long ago to face tough comp in the USA. I still feel exactly the same way.
Fighter’s Grades: Fighter’s Grades: (Speed, Power, Defense, Reach, Age, Stamina, Experience) *No totals for this fight - Dasmarinas’ reach unknown.
Michael Dasmarinas: B- B- C+ B? B- B B-
Naoya Inoue: B+ B+ B+ B- B B+ B+
Reality Check: We’ll see how the fight plays out, but few recover completely from an orbital fracture, not even a ’light’ one that didn’t require surgery, like Inoue sustained. Says me.
True - Inoue looked fantastic against over-matched Jason Moloney, last October, but that was hardly a stern test. Interestingly, in the slo-mo replay with Andre Ward and Tim Bradley cheering him on - even as Inoue launches a left hook that knocked Moloney down, he’s cranking his head hard right to avoid the return. Was he leery of being hit in a still-damaged face or simply demonstrating marvelous reflexes?
Here’s the thing about lighter weight fighters. Some of these little dudes hit incredibly hard but don’t have the frames of heavier weight fighters to take big shots so well. Inoue has caught his fair share.
Dasmarinas, a southpaw, has looked absolutely awesome in training and for the weight, hits the heavy bag legit, incredibly hard. In the ring he’s a solid pro, with no special skills, period. He moves pretty well. He has excellent vision. His strange punches are nothing to write home to his native Philippines about. Dasmarinas has been kayoed before and he’s had many more fights than Inoue, despite being the same age. Hey - he’s Inoue’s mandatory. Why? Who knows!
Inoue is actually an accomplished defensive fighter and at times, glides around the ring as if floating. We all know about his punching power and punch quality. Every dude can have his favorite, as Inoue throws each of them, perfectly. And hard.
Fight and prediction: Inoue must look monstrous vs Dasmarinas or - in the savage way of boxing, the quality Bantamweights will line up to fight him, as the mystique will be tarnished. Where once they might have said "oh,no thanks," they’ll be emboldened.
Hoping I’m wrong about all of the above. I think this is an easy fight for Inoue, so, Inoue TKO Michael Dasmarinas, 5.
At 28, this likeable Yokahoma monster needs to step up the competition. He’s a tremendous fighter. Given his injury and style, he only has so many Godzilla-like fights left in him.