WBO bantamweight champ Paul Butler will head to Japan soon, to tackle Naoya Inoue, the reigning WBA WBC IBF bantamweight king. It is a mighty task Butler faces, and everyone knows it; not least Butler himself and his team, including ace trainer Joe Gallagher. In fact Butler, speaking with The Liverpool Echo, says “the toughest task in boxing” right now is defeating “The Monster Inoue”
In short, 29 year old Inoue, in his prime and currently perfect at 23-0(20) has no obvious weakness or flaw a rival fighter might be able to take advantage of. Paul Butler, five years the older man and currently 34-2(15) is under no illusion; he knows he is in incredibly tough. In fact, if Butler did manage to pull off the upset win, it would have to rank in the top two or three Greatest British ‘away wins.’
“It is the toughest task in boxing. I have said it to everyone. My dad said it to me about six or seven weeks ago. This is the toughest task in boxing,” Butler said. “You look around at the other divisions, there are question marks over everyone in terms of who is the best, but Inoue stands out in the bantamweight division. I don’t think anyone is saying so and so will beat Inoue at bantamweight. It is the toughest task in boxing but it is something I have signed up for. I am looking forward to it. People say you are mad, but listen, mad it what I want. There is no other way of being an undisputed champion than facing Inoue.”
Butler really does have nothing to lose here. If Butler wins, well, of course he shocks the world. If Butler is beaten, and quickly, fans will say they expected such a result. If Butler manages to go half way, and sticks around for a few rounds, maybe even wins a couple, he will have earned a massive moral victory. Butler, though, believes he can win, and so does Gallagher. How Butler wins is the tough question. Inoue is not only a wicked puncher with both hands, to both head and body, he is also very fast and clever, Inoue has great stamina, and the Japanese superstar (and for many, the reigning pound-for-pound best today) has a fine chin.
Butler is a tidy boxer and he has good experience, but will this be enough for the British challenger to pull it off? Butler is no huge puncher, therefore his best chance, his only chance, will be to outbox Inoue and win enough rounds to bag the decision. For this, though, Butler will have to box the perfect fight. But is there such a thing in the sport of boxing? It seems Inoue will catch Butler at some point, maybe very early, and this is when the enormity of the task will really hit Butler.
How can any fighter adequately prepare for a fight with the all-devouring “Monster?” Credit goes to Butler for daring to try.