Boxing needs a lower-weight superstar to replace the soon to retire Manny Pacquiao (after all, it’s not all about the heavyweights) and it may have found one with Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue. “The Monster,” already a three-weight world champion despite having had just 16 pro fights, consisting of just 92-rounds, will kick off the next instalment of The World Boxing Super Series – this one to take place at bantamweight – when he fights Juan Carlos Payano Yokohoma City on October 7.
Not only are we fans in store for another excellent tournament but we will also get to see more of the current WBA bantamweight champ. Arguably the most exciting lower-weight fighter in the sport today, if not the most exciting fighter in the world regarding of weight division, Inoue is fast becoming a global fan favourite. Simply put, whenever the 25 year old is in action there is a great chance we will see a KO; maybe a brutal and chilling one. Inoue carries genuine lights-out power, in either hand, of that there is no doubt – just ask Jamie McDonnell, who was taken out inside a single round in May in the fight that saw Inoue win his third belt. Could it be that “The Monster” is an even harder puncher at bantamweight compared to at junior-bantam?
That’s a scary thought – for Inoue’s upcoming opponents. Next up, against Payano, 20-1(9), Inoue will be facing a man who has never been stopped. The aforementioned McDonnell could say the same thing, yet Inoue vaporised him in double-quick fashion. Can Inoue do a similar job on the southpaw from The Dominican Republic?
Payano, aged 34, has been beaten only by the classy Rau’shee Warren, who defeated him by close, majority decision, and he has won three since. Not a big puncher himself, Payano will have to outbox Inoue and keep him off him. But can he do so for all 12-rounds? Can anyone do this against the pound-for-pound entrant who just might be the most explosive puncher in the sport right now?
It promises to be some WBSS tournament but Inoue has to be a big, big favourite to win it. And that’s saying something when fine fighters such as Zolani Tete and Nonito Donaire are involved.