Via Jake Tiernan: IBF, WBA & WBC bantamweight champion Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue meets WBO champion Paul Butler for the title tomorrow night, December 13, at Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan. The event will be shown on ESPN+ in the US, starting at 5:00 AM ET.
The basis for the fight between Inoue and Butler is that there are no compelling battles. It was one of the blankest cards this writer can remember seeing. Besides the main event, the lower part is a virtual ghost town about exciting battles.
Yoshiki Takei vs Bruno Tarimo
Andy Hiraoka vs Min Ho Jung
Takuma Inoue vs Jake Bornea
Satoshi Shimizu vs Landy Cris Leon
Hironori Miyake vs Peter McGrail
This is expected to be Inoue’s last fight in the 118th before he moves up to 122 to win four titles in that weight division. Inoue struggled to put on weight on Monday, which is a sign that he’s outstripped the super bantamweight division at the age of 29.
Interestingly, there are hardly any ads about the fight between Inoue and Butler in the United States. If you didn’t look closely, you wouldn’t even know these two were going to fight tomorrow night in Tokyo.
What dampened interest in the fight was that Butler was not a big star; he is quite old and has little power. The deck is stacked against Butler, and his only chance of winning is if he stays around long enough to take out 29-year-old Inoue.
The ‘monster’ Inoue was used to taking down opponents early in his matches and he didn’t like being hit. When Inoue got hit, he looked angry and confused.
When Inoue fought David Carmona in 20016 and Nonito Donaire in 2019, he was stressed about being punished by these boxers. Those matches showed that Inoue didn’t react well when the opponent hit back.
You could argue that if Inoue wasn’t a great puncher with breakneck speed, he would be an average boxer with a mediocre record. Again, Inoue doesn’t react well to being hit and seems to lack the toughness of boxers who do a lot of the work in their fights.
Savvy boxing fans see this fight as a massacre to come, as Inoue (23-0, 20 KOs) is on a different level than the 34-year-old Butler who hit lightly (34-2, 15 KOs) ).
Former triple world champion Inoue will be looking to knock Butler down with a jump, and it will be interesting to see what the British boxer can do to prevent that from happening.