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Three Punch Combo: An Early Look at Inoue-Donaire and Under the Radar Fights

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  • Three Punch Combo: An Early Look at Inoue-Donaire and Under the Radar Fights


    By Matt Andrzejewski

    THREE PUNCH COMBO -- This past Saturday, Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16 KO’s) punched his ticket to the bantamweight final in the World Boxing Super Series when he impressively knocked out Emmanuel Rodriguez in the second round of their scheduled 12-round fight. The win sets up a showdown with veteran Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26 KO’s) who punched his ticket to the final with an impressive knockout of Stephon Young last month.

    As expected, Inoue has opened as a monstrous favorite in the betting markets. While this suggests a one-sided wipeout, I have some other thoughts.

    Inoue is pound for pound one of, if not the hardest, puncher in the sport today and put that power on full display in his destruction of Rodriguez in the semi-finals. But having enormous power does not make him indestructible.

    In watching that fight against Rodriguez, there were clearly flaws on display on the defensive side of Inoue’s game. For one, Inoue does not move his head at all and as such can be hit. Rodriguez landed several clean punches on Inoue in the first round. And Inoue frequently keeps his hands low looking to bait opponents into throwing to set up counter opportunities. It has worked so far but could be something he pays for down the road.

    Donaire is a smart and skilled fighter and though he is 36, his last few fights have shown that he still has plenty left in the tank. Moreover, he possesses one thunderous left hook and has always been at his best when fighting below 122. He has all the capabilities to expose Inoue’s flaws and a left hook that can alter the course of a fight as we have seen him doing plenty of times in the past.

    Unlike a lot of people, I do not consider Donaire to be another layup for Inoue. There is real danger in this fight for Inoue if he does not make changes to his game. Donaire has starched big punching rising stars before and I would not discount his chances to expose the significant defensive flaws in Inoue’s game.

    Under The Radar Fight

    Boxing returns to ESPN on Saturday with a card from Kissimmee, FL headlined by 130- pound champion Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13 KO’s) who is making the second defense of his title against former US Olympian Jamel Herring (19-2, 10 KO’s). While I think this should be an excellent fight, the co-feature, which is flying deep under the radar, should be even better.

    In this fight, former two division world champion Jose Pedraza (25-2, 12 KO’s) makes his first return to the ring after losing his lightweight title to Vasiliy Lomachenko in December to face Antonio Lozada (40-2-1, 34 KO’s). Given their respective styles, this fight at the very least will provide plenty of sustained action.

    Appropriately nicknamed “The Sniper,” Pedraza at his best is a precision puncher. A boxer-puncher by trade, he uses subtle movement inside the ring to create angles that are used to land sharp power shots on his opposition. He is also a very good inside fighter and will shift around on the inside to once again set up just the right angle to land his power shots with maximum efficiency. But despite being a good inside fighter, Pedraza has a tendency to stay in the pocket a bit too long which leaves him open to getting hit.

    Lozada is best known for his upset TKO win against one-time blue-chip prospect Felix Verdejo in March of 2018. However, he failed to build momentum off that win and is coming off a lackluster split draw his last time out to 12-7-1 journeyman Hector Ruben Ambriz Suarez.

    Lozada certainly does not have the technical proficiency of Pedraza. He is slow and plodding. But what he does bring to the table is relentless pressure combined with a high volume of punches. He will press forward, recklessly at times, winging punches consistently hoping to wear down his opposition through attrition. As such, he tends to get hit a lot and can be involved in shootouts.

    Cleary, Pedraza is the more skilled fighter, but given Lozada’s all-offensive mindset as well as Pedraza’s willingness to stay in the pocket, the leather is all but guaranteed to be flying from the opening bell. Neither are big punchers either so I suspect we see a fight that goes rounds providing many exciting exchanges and one that could certainly steal the show on Saturday.

    Another Under The Radar Fight

    Also on Saturday, Fox Sports 1 will televise a card from Biloxi, MS featuring a crossroads fight between former 154-pound champion Austin Trout (31-5, 17 KO’s) and former US Olympian Terrell Gausha (21-1, 10 KO’s). But it is another 154-pound fight on the undercard that is receiving almost no coverage that I want to highlight. It pits Chordale Booker (14-0, 7 KO’s) against Wale Omotoso (27-3, 21 KO’s).

    Booker turned pro in 2016 after a successful amateur career and has kept up a fairly busy schedule. He is coming off a dominating 8-round unanimous decision over veteran Juan De Angel in January and now is taking a big jump up in his caliber of opposition in facing Omotoso.

    Booker, a southpaw, likes to press forward behind a stinging right jab. He possesses elite level hand speed and likes to use that jab to set up quick power punching combinations. Booker is also an excellent counter puncher and possesses a very potent right hook coming from that southpaw stance. He will often hold his left low to bait his opponents into opening up to set up counter opportunities. However, he has also been clipped by his share of left hooks fighting in this manner and this is something he will need to tighten up against Omotoso.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    I expected Donaire to retire after losing to Frampton.

    The monsterous beating he gets here should convince him.

    Comment


    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      That's what they said when he fought Vic Darchinyan . That left hook is always dangerous if he connects.

  • #3
    Matt, you dug really deep here. Wow, those are some great fights.

    Comment


    • #4
      Ted that was a million years ago! No offense! 😎

      Comment


      • Kid Blast
        Kid Blast commented
        Editing a comment
        "The last thing to go is the power........."

    • #5
      Originally posted by Kid Blast View Post
      Matt, you dug really deep here. Wow, those are some great fights.
      Thanks KB, going to be a busy day today watching the fights and some good ones happening.

      Comment


      • #6
        Originally posted by KO Digest View Post
        I expected Donaire to retire after losing to Frampton.

        The monsterous beating he gets here should convince him.
        I have watched Inoue's fights and he does need serious work on his defense. So far, his power had masked those flaws. But he can't always just come forward with his hands down and no heade movement (watch round one of the Rodriguez fight as an example). Eventually he will get clipped. Donaire maybe aging but still has one big time left hook.

        Comment


        • #7
          As an addition to the under the radar fights above, there is a card in China tomorrow morning flying deep under the radar. But there are two excellent world title bouts and on Wednesday the WBA announced they will stream those two title fights on their website. Those two bouts are Carlos Canizales (21-0-1, 17 KO's) vs. Sho Kimura (18-2-2, 11 KO's) and Can Xu (16-2, 2 KO's) vs Shun Kubo (13-1, 9 KO's). These are going to be two really good fights and I think the Canizales-Kimura fight in particular could be a FOY contender. I am pumped and will be up early to catch the action (around 7:00 am eastern time is the start).

          Comment

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