IT’S not often you hear a fighter finished inside a round maintain they still possess the ability to beat the man who stopped them, but Jamie McDonnell doesn’t care what’s deemed normal or not.

The former WBA bantamweight champion is adamant he has Naoya Inoue’s number and attributes weight-making horrors to the first-round loss he suffered at the hands of the Japanese star last May. On another day, at another weight, it would have been a different story, McDonnell claims.

“I still believe I can beat Inoue, but I just pushed the weight too long at my age,” the Doncaster man told Boxing News this week.

“Everyone raves about him but even to this day I believe I could beat him. People laugh at me when I say that. They say, ‘He blasted you in a round.’ Yeah, he did, but he didn’t get the best of me. Maybe two years ago it would have been a different fight. It was just one too many at bantamweight for me.

“If I came in like I normally did, and made weight properly, I’d beat him. I believe I would have beaten him.

“I hope he goes on and knocks them all out in the first round. It won’t make me look good, no, but it might make me feel better.

“At the end of the day, he is a great fighter. He has won world titles in multiple divisions. At least I can say I went in with one of the world’s best.”

McDonnell, 29-3-1 (13), says this through gritted teeth, though concedes Inoue, his old nemesis, should now be the favourite to win the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament.

As for his own career, McDonnell, owner of WBA and IBF belts, is finished with the bantamweight division and currently looking forward to a second run at a title as a super-bantamweight. A fit, healthy, positive super-bantamweight; one who remains ambitious at the age of 33.

“Obviously I’ve had a really good run of it,” he said, “but everyone says, ‘Oh, are you retired now?’ I just turned 33 last week. I don’t feel 33. I know I’ve had a few 12-round fights, but I’ve not had too many really hard ones.

“This time around I’m hungrier than ever to win a world title at super-bantam. I believe I can as well. People say I’m getting on a bit, but I reckon I’ve got a good three years left.

“I believe I can beat Daniel Roman who beat my brother (Jamie). Hopefully we’ll have a tune-up fight and then target that.

“This time around I want the world title, whereas last time I just got on with it and did whatever I had to do. I’ve done it once, I can do it again. Within a year hopefully I’ll be saying, ‘I told you.’”

McDonnell aims to return to the ring in June, some 13 months after the ‘Monster’ nightmare he’d rather forget.

Jamie McDonnell