I remember when peak Nonito Donaire was making mince meat of his opponents.
His prime version would have stopped Naoya Inoue right from the get-go.
At 39 years old, age has caught up with The Filipino Flash as he looked helpless en route to the second-round TKO.
This could have been the bout that would unify the WBA super bantamweight title with the WBA super bantamweight title, as well as with The Ring and IBF bantamweight titles. It still did - but with The Monster hoarding all the belts. Not only did Naoya Inoue come out with all the belts, but he also preserved his unbeaten record. Meanwhile, this is Donaire's seventh loss in 49 fights.
Donaire made his pro debut 21 years ago.
I don't know if Donaire wants to retire. His boxing career as well as his win-loss record says that he has done a lot but I don't know if he has had enough. If Manny Pacquiao, millionaire and all, could fight to his 40s while maintaining a busy lifestyle, then what more for a guy like Donaire.
With that said, he should expect a long road to recovery. The thing about losing at this stage of his career is that he'll probably find himself as a walking punching bag for up-and-comers. This is not a bad thing - since you can also view this as him being the gateway for the new guys on whether or not they are ready to carry the sport on their backs. With that said, this works positively if a boxer can defy the odds and come out on top, like what happened with Pacman when he faced the likes of Jessie Vargas, Adrien Broner, and Keith Thurman. If the winning streak continues, then the stakes begin to get higher.
Donaire can do this if he wants.
But as mentioned, this may be the beginning of the end - unless the end is already here. Donaire can sit back and watch the new guys take the sport to some sort of rebirth. Otherwise, he can just sit back and enjoy his Hall of Fame career.