Naoya Inoue, one of the premier knockout artists in boxing and surely one of the finest pound-for-pound fighters in the world, was met with a stern test Thursday from Filipino veteran Nonito Donaire in the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight final. The undefeated champ found his toughest opponent to date in Donaire, 36, who has zero reason to hang his head even if he eventually decides that this was the last bout of his career.
Inoue's last four fights ended quickly thanks to his brilliant propensity for the KO, but Donaire would permit nothing of the sort. Thought he final bell brought a unanimous decision victory in favor of the Japanese champion, one of the cards showed a razor-thin 114-113 margin.
The back-and-forth nature of the proceedings makes this an enticing candidate for 2019's Fight of the Year. But for now, the day belongs to "The Monster," who may be just beginning to show boxing heads just what he's capable of on the big stage.