Inoue vs Bulter for all the belts will happen Tuesday, December 13th at 2:30 a.m. ET LIVE on ESPN+
As fans may have heard, Naoya Inoue and Paul Butler will fight their four-belt bantamweight unification fight in Japan on December 13. The bout will see “Monster” Inoue try and pick up the sole bantamweight belt he does not yet have in his growing collection – the WBO strap British warrior Butler holds.
No disrespect to Butler, 34 years of age and sporting a good 34-2(15) record, but most fans see the upcoming fight as the “Monster Show;” a fight that will quickly come to a violent, shuddering halt as soon as Inoue connects with his bombs. If Zolani Tete can ice Butler, the thinking goes that Inoue can do so too.
Butler deserves immense credit for taking this Japanese mission (we UK fight fans were hoping we could welcome Inoue back to these shores, at the same time being able to cheer Butler on for the, well, monster upset in an up close and personal fashion) but it is so tough to make a case for him winning the fight. Buster Douglas-type upset comparisons spring to mind, and all that.
Inoue, 29 and in his prime at 23-0(20) does seem to be unstoppable right now – just look what he did to Nonito Donaire in their return fight – and Butler’s trainer, the accomplished Joe Gallagher, has a task almost as mighty as the one his fighter faces, this in coming up with a winning game plan.
Butler saw what Inoue did to his countryman Jamie McDonnell, and, as much as Butler’s fans may hate to admit it, a similar result lurks ahead of the December fight. Butler really has nothing to lose, even though he is a reigning champion (elevated to such due to the exploits of John Riel Casimero), and in some cases, this can make a fighter dangerous. But Butler just doesn’t seem to have the necessary fire power to derail the charging right at him Inoue Express.
As much as it would be devastating for Butler, the pick here is Inoue by first round KO. That said, I honestly hope Butler can prove me wrong. And shock the world in doing just that.