Fight analysis: The questions can wait – devastation for Jamie McDonnell as world title reign ends

Jamie McDonnell cannot hide his devastation after losing his world title
Jamie McDonnell cannot hide his devastation after losing his world title
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Four years as king of the world were brought to an end in just 112 seconds.

Jamie McDonnell saw his WBA bantamweight title wrestled away in devastating fashion by the supremely talented and ferociously powerful Naoya Inoue in Tokyo.

Japanese challenger Naoya Inoue, front, punches British Jamie McDonnell during the first round of their WBA World bantamweight title match in Tokyo.

Japanese challenger Naoya Inoue, front, punches British Jamie McDonnell during the first round of their WBA World bantamweight title match in Tokyo.

The second of two knockdowns inside the opening two minutes was too much for referee Luis Pabon to stomach as he waved off the fight. Justifiably so.

McDonnell simply could not live with the power Japanese superstar Inoue delivered.

But the devastation wreaked by the man known as The Monster was nothing compared to that which McDonnell felt afterwards as he watched someone else being presented with the title he had proudly held since 2014.

Thousands of miles from home, tears filled his eyes as the desolation set in.

Jamie McDonnell, left, loses balance against Japanese challenger Naoya Inoue.

Jamie McDonnell, left, loses balance against Japanese challenger Naoya Inoue.

Questions will be asked about the decision to remain at bantamweight.

But before all that there should be acknowledgement and respect for McDonnell’s bravery in accepting the fight in the first place.

Inoue is a bone fide superstar after just 16 fights. Heading for the top five global pound-four-pound ratings, he is now a three-weight world champion mere weeks after his 25th birthday.

He has blitzed through opposition on his road to legendary status that now seems inevitable.

Jamie McDonnell reacts after his technical knockout loss to Naoya Inoue

Jamie McDonnell reacts after his technical knockout loss to Naoya Inoue

McDonnell is a road warrior in every sense of the word. He has not fought in Britain in three and a half years.

In that time he has twice beaten another Japanese sensation, Tomoki Kameda, and negotiated a pair of awkward contests with Liborio Solis in Monaco.

And then came Inoue.

Few would have accepted a world title defence against Inoue - and in his own backyard at that - when other options were available.

McDonnell did. And while there will be some regret, there should be personal pride and plenty of respect from others.

That decision to remain at 118lbs could form some of that remorse.

He looked in horrendous condition on the scales on Thursday with a face so drawn he was barely recognisable.

And reports he had piled on more than 26lbs in the 18 hours running up to the first bell looked valid as he headed to the ring appearing much healthier.

The true cost of the battle to weigh-in inside the bantamweight limit will never truly be known.

And it must be said he would likely have struggled to keep Inoue at bay even if operating as his physical peak.

He managed to do so in a cagey opening 40 seconds when he used the jab to keep his Japanese foe at distance.

But from the first time Inoue landed a punch, McDonnell looked in trouble.

It immediately put him on the back foot and struggling to keep strong defences of both body and head.

As he stepped away to create distance, he was clipped with a big left hook that sent him staggering back.

Inoue was in Monster mode and piled forward, unleashing a barrage of shots that sent McDonnell down for the first time.

He made the count but time was not on his side with so much of the first round remaining.

Inoue stormed in again, pushing him back on the ropes and whacked in a brutal left hook to the side of the head.

The barrage continued and McDonnell was over for a second time. And this time referee Pabon had seen enough.

Questions to answer about the last week. Decisions to make about the future.

But first there is the devastating disappointment from which to recover.