The last time we saw Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue in action, we had barely a glimpse of him before the fight ended. It was back in October when “The Monster” faced the previously unstopped Juan Carlos Payano in his first fight in The World Boxing Super Series tournament. Just over one minute in, Inoue scored yet another devastating and hugely impressive KO win; the kind fans who have seen him do his stuff have grown accustomed to seeing.
Inoue retained his version of the WBA bantamweight championship and he looked forward to his next WBSS bout. It’s taken quite a while to come round, but this Saturday in Glasgow, Scotland Inoue will face Emanuel Rodriguez – another man who has never been stopped. But Inoue, 17-0(15) is looking to change that. And if he does – and scores his third quick KO in a row over a man who has never been halted – is the 26 year old from Kanagawa deserving of being called the single hardest puncher in the sport today, pound-for-pound?
Inoue is a truly astonishing puncher. With either hand he has shown lethal power and the scary thing is we may not yet have seen him at his best. Having won WBO belts at 108 and 115 pounds and then moving up to bantamweight, Inoue seems to be punching even harder. In fact, it’s actually gotten quite ludicrous how “The Monster” is bowling over good, quality opponents without even appearing to break a sweat. Inoue doesn’t even appear to load up with his shots, his power punches simply flow with absolute ease. Can Rodriguez, 19-0(12) and the current IBF bantamweight champ, succeed where Inoue’s former opponents failed?
Inoue is arguably the best fighter in the world no-one has yet seen fight, but, with another quick and chilling KO, his fame and reputation would grow further. Of course, the hardcore fans have known about Inoue for a while, and it’s now high-time he became a crossover star. Maybe a KO win over Rodriguez and then the winning of the WBSS tournament would do it for him.
Inoue has said that though he always looks for a KO, he doesn’t always look for a first-round KO win. But he may well score another one on Saturday – his third in a row.