Naoya Inoue has the potential to be the best fighter in the world.
Fitting for Boxing Day, December 26th is Live On sky sports“The Monster” Inoue takes on Marlon Tapares at Ariake Arena in Japan.
Inoue won the WBC and WBO super bantamweight titles by knocking out the talented American Stephen Fulton in his first and last fight at 122 pounds.
Tapares holds the IBF and WBA belts, and this fight gives Inoue a chance to become the undisputed champion of both weight classes.
If Inoue wins this match, he will join the team in August. In the four-belt era, Terrence Crawford is the only undisputed man in two weight classes so far.
Mr. Inoue’s achievements are astounding. He won his first world title at light flyweight in his sixth professional fight.
After winning the championship at super flyweight, he moved up to bantamweight, defeating Jamie McDonnell in a round in an impressive victory and scoring a thriller victory over Nonito Donaire in a rematch. He defeated “Philippine Flash” in just two rounds.
He became the undisputed bantamweight champion last December, and if he defeats Tapares he will become the undisputed champion in the second division in just over a year.
Also, it was his winning style that made such an impression.
“He’s a special fighter. He does everything well. Everything. I can’t find any fault with him,” Hall of Famer Jane Couch said.
Boxing trainer and commentator Gary Logan said, “And what he’s really good at is if he sees a weakness, he’s quick to shut the door on you. It will help you find the answer you’re looking for.” found.
“He did the same thing he did with Fulton in their last fight, continuing to touch Fulton with a hard jab to the stomach. Before Fulton knew it, he dropped his left hand to protect his stomach from that hard jab, and Fulton [Inoue] I brought my right hand up.
“He always applies pressure skillfully and looks at his mistakes while applying pressure. So essentially he’s a pretty aggressive counter-puncher.
“But he can also lead because he has a one-two snap, rare power, rare timing. If you have to put him in the box, it’s his rare ability to bring that snap. It’s the timing.”
“He’s been knocking out guys who obviously look bigger than him, and you could see him move up to featherweight and do that.
“Don’t underestimate Tapares, but no matter how many times we say that, he still goes out and takes him on the chin.”
Josh Taylor knows better than anyone what it takes to become an undisputed champion. The Scottish fighter achieved the feat at super lightweight.
I once fought on the same card as Inoue in Glasgow. “He’s a great fighter and I’m a big fan of his,” Taylor said.
He considers Inoue to be one of the best fighters in the world currently at any weight. “He has to be either No. 1 or No. 2. There are probably only two undisputed world champions in two weight classes.” [if Inoue beats Tapales].
“Those two have to be No. 1 and No. 2. Absolutely. Whether it’s him or Crawford, we’re definitely going to have to make the argument.”
Todd DuBoff of Top Rank, which promotes Inoue, believes the Japanese star has already established himself as the strongest pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.
“It’s hard not to recognize him as the pound-for-pound No. 1 because of his body of work. He’s always fighting against the best, no matter the weight class, and he’s just one of those determined athletes. ”Dubov said. sky sports.
“I’ve been in this industry since 1993, and when I saw them come together, it looked like we had a special fighter.
“Whether it’s Floyd Mayweather, Kostya Tsi, whoever it is, and he’s got it. He’s got the ability. He’s got the speed, the power, the IQ, the sheer dominance. It has that element of power.”
“I think most people will say about the Donaire fight, the first match was a great match, very competitive. I probably fought at 60 percent because I kept going, but it was a great fight.
“He’s just a special, special fighter overall,” he added. “His popularity in Japan is incredible. We’d love to have him in America, but he’s made a great contribution to the sport in this country.”
Opinion is divided between Inoue and Crawford as to who is No. 1 pound-for-pound.
“I think it’s hard to list pound-for-pound. You’re as good as you were last fight, and who’s performed best recently? Everyone jumps on that. Crawford was sensational against Spence, but… , in a sense, in terms of a sense of stability, he [Inoue] It’s been pretty sensational every time,” said the former world title challenger. sky sports Critic Matthew Macklin.
“Certainly he’s in the conversation. Most people think he’s No. 1 or No. 2. I think the general consensus is between Inoue and Terrence Crawford.”
sky sports Commentator Andy Clarke believes Crawford has the advantage in that regard at the moment. “If Inoue wins against Tapares, he will become an undisputed presence in the second division, but I would still put him behind Terrence Crawford. Crawford unifies welterweight division. I would put him above Inoue in the super bantamweight division given his accomplishments,” Clark said.
“Because he won [Errol] Spence and it was a massive fight. I consider their track record to be relatively even at bantamweight and super lightweight. Therefore, I would give Crawford the edge over “The Monster.”
“I would still put Crawford ahead of Inoue.” 1704131630 Because his victory over Spence in a welterweight unification match and the way he did it considering his opponent will likely surpass his unification match against Inoue against Tapales. ”
However, this is a surprisingly high bar, and there is certainly a chance that Inoue will surpass Crawford in the future, especially if he moves up to another weight class.
Inoue and Todd DuBoff believe that they can and will do just that. “Can he run through the 126-pound weight class? I wouldn’t put anything past him. Probably,” Dubove said.
“Depending on 30 pounds, I think you could put him in a 30-pound fight, but I think 126 pounds is really his limit.
“From a size standpoint, I don’t know if Inoue will be over 126 pounds.”
Winning the title there in the powerful featherweight division would put Inoue at the top of the sport, but a win against Tyson Fury in February could make Oleksandr Usyk and Crawford the absolute champions of the two weight divisions. There is also.
“Of course, if Inoue moves up to featherweight, that’s always possible. I think everyone expects him to do that. Then maybe he can move beyond that,” Clark said. Stated. [Crawford] By winning a world title in that weight class. Usyk should also be considered. If he beats Fury, he’s right there. ”
Matt Christie, Editor boxing news“It’s hard to predict where a fighter will be ranked if he wins a fight that hasn’t happened yet. In the case of Naoya Inoue, everyone knows he’s a great, talented, exciting fighter. I think, if you think he looks good enough to win on Boxing Day. boxing news Terrence Crawford will remain one of the greatest fighters in the sports world.
“In 2023, I think you look at what he did in the win over Errol Spence, who was long considered Crawford’s closest rival, albeit just one performance. People thought Spence would win, but the way Crawford dismantled him in this match, I think it sets a very high benchmark in this sport that even Inoue can’t match at this point. .
“But what we are aiming for in the sport of boxing, with these two leading the way and potentially adding Oleksandr Usyk in February, is a very healthy sport at the top level. .”
Watch Inoue vs Tapales live sky sports December 26th morning, undercard 8am, main event 10am