Carl Frampton: No one laughing after dazzling Donaire & Inoue restore faith in boxing
It has been a tough time recently for boxing but everything that is good about the sport was on display in the battle between my friend and former foe Nonito Donaire and Naoya Inoue in Japan.
The sad death of Patrick Day was followed in the past days by the revelation that World super-bantamweight champion Rey Vargas and No.1-ranked flyweight Julio Cesar Martinez will not face any sanctions despite being found to have returned positive doping tests.
The WBC stated that: "The amounts found in the tests are not sufficient to register any performance-enhancing benefit… the muscle-forming drug is commonly found in many meat products throughout Mexico."
That left a bad taste in the mouth and unfortunately leaves the sport open to the criticism of not taking drug use seriously.
While that cannot simply be pushed to one side, nevertheless Inoue's victory over Donaire in the World Boxing Super Series Bantamweight Final lifted the gloom because it turned out to be a modern day classic encounter and easily a contender for Fight of the Year.
It was another great example of why the WBSS has been so good for the sport. It really has brought together the best against the best.
There have been some rumours that it may be coming to an end but I really hope that it continues because the tournament has delivered so many great nights - and maybe they could sort out a featherweight or super-featherweight event before I retire!
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Throughout the 12 rounds on Thursday, the skill level on show was just incredible - it truly was elite-level boxing at its best.
When I said I thought Donaire was going to cause a shock I got laughed at in some quarters and accused of having my view clouded by my friendship with Nonito, but he showed the class and experience that proved my point was based solely on boxing knowledge.
Inoue (below) deserved the decision but it was very close and only for the knockdown in the 11th round, one judge would have had it a draw. Inoue, known as the Monster, was forced to endure a test that he had never dealt with before as Donaire hurt him badly a couple of times and gave him a bad cut over his right eye.
Due to his amazing power, Inoue had been expected by just about everybody to roll forward and bang Donaire out inside the first third of the fight but the Filipino Flash was much smarter than anyone he had faced before.
Credit to Inoue because he was forced to dig deep, he had to soak up some tough moments and fire back.
Ultimately, the difference proved to be that Inoue was that little bit fresher and younger - he doesn't have that many miles on the clock and was able to come back strongly after some tough rounds.
He has now signed for Top Rank and will probably go and win a World title at super-bantamweight.
After that he could face Vasyl Lomachenko in a blockbuster fight at featherweight if Loma is prepared to drop down again. I think after watching this fight, Loma would relish it.
As for Donaire, if this is his last fight then I think it would be the perfect way to exit.
He's 37 years of age and to put in a performance like he did was amazing. That decision is up to him but one thing is certain, he's a Hall of Famer right away whenever he does hang up the gloves.
I feel very proud to have shared the ring with Nonito and at a time when too many are looking to get an edge by cheating, he is a true ring warrior and role model for every young sportsman.