Trainer Virgil Hunter: “Rigondeaux Fought Lomachenko, He Dared To Take The Opportunity, With No Catchweight”

By James Slater - 05/09/2024 - Comments

There is, quite amazingly all things considered, still talk of a possible – but not at all realistic – fight between Naoya Inoue and Gervonta Davis. The latest name to talk about this fight: one that would pit a man who could in all likelihood still make the bantamweight limit against a fighter who has boxed as high as 140 pounds – is trainer Virgil Hunter.

Hunter, who spoke with Fight Hype not too long after Inoue’s up from the floor KO of Luis Nery, stated how the fight would have to see Inoue move up to “see” Tank, not fight him at a catchweight. Guillermo Rigondeaux, Hunter said, “dared to take that opportunity” by facing Vasiliy Lomachenko up at 130 pounds. Also, Hunter pointed out, Jermell Charlo went up to 168 pounds to challenge Canelo Alvarez.

Inoue, Hunter said, must follow suit, while Tank “shouldn’t go below 135.”

“I don’t think Gervonta should go below 135….I’m sure Inoue walks around at ’40,’45 – 145. You have to come up just like everybody else,” Hunter said. “What is the value of me coming to a catchweight to fight you? You big in Japan, I’m big in the States. So there should not be any weight concession. If you want to fight, come and fight me. Let’s not make excuses. Rigondeaux fought Lomachenko, there was no catchweight involved – he dared to take that opportunity, he came up short, but he dared to take it. Charlo dared to fight Canelo at 168 coming from 154. So it’s only a few pounds north. You’re getting a little older, I’m sure you could carry the weight comfortably. So I wouldn’t make any concessions for that fight.”

But is this fight at all realistic? Why would Inoue move up a further THREE weight divisions (at least) in order to fight Tank? Why on earth should he? As for Inoue’s walking around weight, he reportedly walks around at approximately 138 pounds. But at what weight does Tank walk around? Some reports I have read say Tank walks around as high as 154. This fight just doesn’t make sense, Inoue is too small, Tank is too big. One would think so many people are desperate to see Inoue lose, and this is why they are suggesting, even demanding he goes up to 135 and beyond. Inoue, we must remember won his first world title as a 108 pounder! Tank has won a belt at 140.

And when we look at Tank’s weight on the night when he fought Ryan Garcia, this fight being fought at at, yes, at a catchweight, of 136, we must not forget that he scaled close to the welterweight limit of 147 pounds. How much bigger than Inoue would Tank be on the night of the fight if it did take place at 135? To repeat, Tank is too big for Inoue, way too big. Talk of this match-up being realistic and fair is just silly.

Inoue has barely had a chance to fully settle in at super-bantamweight, with him having had just three fights at the weight. Now, people who should know better want Inoue to “not make excuses” and go as high as 135, or higher, to fight Davis?

I don’t know about you, but I think this fight makes zero sense. Inoue, a smart guy who says he may not even make the move up to featherweight, knows he doesn’t have to defeat a man so much bigger and heavier than he is in order to be great. And why is Tank, if he wants the Inoue fight as much as some other folks seem to want it, so interested in fighting a man who is for all intents and purposes a natural bantamweight? Pick on guys your own size, Tank!

Inoue is doing his thing right where he is, at 122 pounds. Why on earth would he make the crazy mistake of agreeing to add another 13 pounds in order to fight Davis? “It’s only a few pounds north,” Hunter says. In terms of the lower weights, the weights Inoue has fought at and is fighting at, 13 pounds is a heck of a lot more than “only a few.”

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