By MARK LORENZANA
Inoue Knocks out Donaire in Round 2
Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue knocked out future hall-of-famer Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire in their rematch on Tuesday, June 7 (Japan Standard Time), at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
What was expected to be a competitive rematch of their 2019 fight that Inoue won via unanimous decision — which also ended up with the Japanese suffering a pair of fractures around his right eye — became a big disappointment for Donaire, who looked rejuvenated in his two previous fights, which he both won via knockout (the first against Nordine Oubaali, and the second against fellow countryman Raymart Gaballo) after the first loss against Inoue.
The first sign that the Inoue-Donaire rematch was not to be as competitive as the 2019 fight came in the opening round when — after both fighters traded hard shots throughout the round and survived — Inoue connected with a right hand on Donaire’s head that dropped the Filipino with just over 10 seconds left in the round. Donaire survived the round, but would not be in the fight for long.
Just 30 seconds into the second round, a left hook by Inoue wobbled Donaire, which had the Filipino in trouble again, but he gamely tried to shake it off. Inoue continued landing heavy shots, and another left from Inoue hurt Donaire again and staggered him. A few seconds later, the Japanese champion finally dropped the Filipino with 1:38 to go in the round. The referee deemed Donaire too hurt to continue and stopped the fight.
“My aim is to be the undisputed champion,” Inoue said in the post-fight interview after his impressive win against Donaire. “If I can do that within this year, I would love to stay in this division. But if I can’t, I am capable of moving up to 122 pounds and fighting for a belt.”
Jenson Button Believes That Red Bull Shouldn’t Play Favorites
Former Formula 1 (F1) driver Jenson Button has warned Red Bull Racing not to prioritize Belgian-Dutch driver Max Verstappen over Mexican Sergio “Checo” Pérez, who he believes is coming into form. Pérez won the Monaco Grand Prix and would have won the Spanish Grand Prix, had the Mexican driver not given way to teammate Verstappen and settled for second place.
“I think Max is very sure of himself and he knows how talented he is. It was a great weekend for Checo, but it needs to be continually happening,” Button told Sky Sports.
“This is the second race win with Red Bull – you just look at how many Max has had. He’s still very confident that he can do the job at every single race weekend, but with the added confidence of Checo, hopefully, it will bring him a lot closer to Max and we will see them going wheel-to-wheel a bit more,” said Button.
Christian Horner, team principal of Red Bull Racing, has gone on the record to say that both their drivers are free to race against each other and challenge for the title, but what transpired in the Spanish Grand Prix — the team orders that Checo had to follow, which the Mexican deemed “very unfair” — obviously goes against his statement.
On that subject, Button added: “The team (Red Bull) can’t choose a favorite driver at this point. They’re too close in points, so anything can happen this season. It’s exciting to see them going wheel-to-wheel, and I love that we have that in this Formula 1 season, that it’s not just teams getting behind one driver.”
Mexican National Football Team in Trouble for the World Cup?
The Mexican national football team has not won a single game against opposing teams that have also qualified for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar in November: “El Tri” has drawn thrice and lost five times. With five months to go before the World Cup, is it time for Mexican football fans to worry?
Guillermo “Memo” Ochoa, the team’s goalkeeper, doesn’t think so.
“We’ve been planning and preparing for these types of games. These games are mostly for preparation. I understand that people, they don’t like it because of the results, because of what they perceive as the performance of the team in these games. But it’s normal. It’s just a matter of adding things to what we’ve always been doing.”
“El Tri” has lost once against Canada and twice against the United States. Two of the three draws were particularly worrying as well because both happened at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.
Gerardo Martino, current coach of the Mexico national team, like Ochoa, isn’t at all worried. “Yes, I was worried, but that was when we lost to the United States and Canada in November of last year. Now we try to play well,” he said.
The operative word here, though, is “try.”
After all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. In this case, it’s in the playing.