Several hours ago in Japan, Nonito Donaire fought one of the great fights of his excellent career, dropping a hard-fought decision to Naoya Inoue in the World Boxing Super Series final.
It’s a fight that will rank high on Fight of the Year lists soon, and for good reason. Inoue (19-0, 16 KO) and Donaire (40-6, 26 KO) left it all in the ring over 12 grueling rounds, featuring Donaire improbably getting up and fighting on after a brutal body shot knocked him down in the 11th round.
Donaire, 36, spoke on Twitter about the fight, thanking his team and everyone in Japan for the hospitality, and also spoke of asking Inoue to borrow the Muhammad Ali Trophy for the night to fulfill a promise to his sons:
Lastly, to my family, my heart. I am a warrior on my shield. I came to Japan to take the Muhammad Ali trophy. I promised my sons they would see it in the morning. And with tears in my eyes, I humbly asked Inoue to borrow it for a night, not for me but for my word.— Nonito Donaire (@filipinoflash) November 8, 2019
It'll be a life lesson my boys will soon learn. That you do your best and you come short. You will win. You will lose. But in either aspect you will do so graciously. It'll pain them to see my face. They'll kiss my wounds.— Nonito Donaire (@filipinoflash) November 8, 2019
They'll see a trophy we don't get to take home and understand what it means to want to train harder. And I told about the battle I fought. That I'd rather put my life on that sheild than give up. And that we will ALWAYS fight.— Nonito Donaire (@filipinoflash) November 8, 2019
Donaire has a reputation as one of boxing’s true gentlemen and genuinely admirable fighters, and this is an example of why. He has been a class act throughout his career, and it sounds like he’s determined to get back in the gym and fight another day.