(UPDATED) Filipino fighter Nonito Donaire Jr. fell short in his rematch against Japanese super star Naoya Inoue, losing via a 2nd-round stoppage at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on Tuesday.
Inoue first dropped Donaire with a big right hand near the end of the first round.
The 39-year-old Fil-Am survived the round and went for broke in the succeeding stanza.
But the heavy-handed Japanese handed a pair of vicious left hooks that dropped Donaire for the second time.
Referee Michael Griffin saw enough and despite seeing Donaire standing up, he stopped the bout 1:24 seconds into the 2nd round.
"Inoue got me really good," admitted Donaire in his YouTube channel Beyond the Ring with Nonito and Rachel after the fight.
"I was always going to keep fighting. I'm glad the referee stopped the fight because I'm always going to stand up that's part of me, I don't have any quit in me."
Donaire said that it was the last hit that took him out.
"It's so crazy, I didn't see the punch coming. I went blank," said the Fil-Am, a former 4-division champion and boxing hall-of-fame candidate.
With the loss, Donaire lost the WBC bantamweight title. Inoue unified it with his WBA and IBF crowns.
Inoue also beat the Filipino during their initial face-off in 2019, where the Japanese ended up winning by points following 12 rounds of brutal slugfest.
The bout was named Fight of the Year.
There was a minor standoff between the two fighters on the eve of the rematch when Inoue's camp brought before the boxing commission a pair of gloves that were not sealed by the manufacturer.
As per regulations, the gloves will have to be brought in from the manufacturer to ensure that none of them were tampered.
The commotion was eventually settled when Inoue's camp produced two sealed pairs of gloves for the Japanese boxer.
Donaire used blue and orange Everlast gloves, while Inoue wore a black pair of Cleto Reyes gloves.
Inoue has all but one remaining divisional title in tow as the WBO throne is currently being occupied by new titlist Paul Butler.
"I thank everybody. Thank you for all the support," said Donaire.
"I trained really hard and very very confident. But I didn't implement the game plan early. It is what it is, he was an amazing fighter and I'm glad I get to share the ring with him."