FILIPINO boxer Michael “Hot and Spicy” Dasmariñas had it rough in his first fight in the United States, torn down with body shots by undefeated Japanese champion Naoya “Monster” Inoue in three rounds of their scheduled 12-rounder title fight on Sunday.
It was an outcome that should send the Camarines Sur native, the number one contender for Mr. Inoue’s World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation bantamweight world titles, back to the drawing board, one local fight analyst said.
“[The] talent is there, no doubt about it. But people forget that getting ranked is different from getting a quality opponent. It’s not synonymous,” said analyst Nissi Icasiano in a post-fight interview with BusinessWorld.
The analyst said that while Mr. Dasmariñas has had success in his boxing career as attested by his winning record of 30-3-1, he still lacks the “best competition” in his resume, citing the limited quality fighters that the Filipino had face before Mr. Inoue, which include Lwandile Sityatha and Manyo Plange.
Mr. Icasiano said Mr. Dasmariñas had a right approach against Mr. Inoue but failed to follow through on it.
“He had the right approach. He knew that being tentative would put him in a tough predicament. It was beautiful because he had angles. But my only gripe was that he didn’t generate offense from that movement. He didn’t want to get touched by Inoue, too wary of the punches,” the analyst said.
“He failed to use his length and stance; never created distance with his right jab that could create traps, setups or diversion from a southpaw stance. He was too reliant on his left straight, and we all know that you have to do more than that to put the Japanese knockout artist off his game.”
Mr. Dasmariñas’ corner also did not make the needed adjustments, Mr. Icasiano pointed out.
“Since the second round, the ploy was hit with a jab-straight combo, forcing Dasmariñas to a high guard. However, that left him open for a brutal body shot. From there, Inoue knew he had it,” he said.
But despite the tough loss, Mr. Icasiano said all is not lost yet for Mr. Dasmariñas.
“Michael is only 28. So there is a lot ahead of him. The good takeaway from this fight is that he got a feel of what it is like to be at the elite level. [Again] the talent is there. But you have to put that talent to the test. Iron sharpens iron,” he said. “Michael Dasmariñas needs fights that will bring out the best in him to prepare him for the boxers at the upper echelon.” — Michael Angelo S. Murillo