Chilling in the ring and charming away from it, Naoya Inoue's my kind of fighteradministrator
I have yet to see Naoya Inoue throw a punch in the flesh. Don’t worry, it’s on my wish-list.
There was no time at the Hydro last week to slip up to the arena on a big night for my man Josh Taylor . Outside, we heard what had happened.
I’ve seen the fight since many times.
Emmanuel Rodriguez was a good opponent. He might not be the best Puerto Rican ever, but unbeaten world champions from that neck of the woods are never a soft touch.
Rodriguez is tall and rangy, and more than competent. He caught Inoue with some good shots in the first round.
Inoue might be hittable, but wow, what a devastating puncher.
There has never been a hammer like it from light flyweight to bantamweight. He has the same chilling power that Mikey Garcia had at featherweight and super feather. And he is riveting to watch.
The Ring Magazine has him at six in their pound-for-pound list. I would have him higher – top three. Though not the all-rounder Vasyl Lomachenko is, nor a technician like Terence Crawford, he hits harder than both.
Over and above his fighting qualities, I love his attitude. I met him earlier in Glasgow. He is everything a fighter should be. You want a guy who is ruthless, puts opponents flat on their backs yet remains grace and charm outside the ropes. He is all that and more.
He turned up in Glasgow trailing an entourage of 120. Eighty of them were journalists.
There were several Japanese ex-world champs in the audience too, which speaks of his gravitas and the respect people have for him back home.
There was the usual argy-bargy at one of the public training sessions when Rodriguez’s coach, Williams Cruz, pushed Inoue’s father and trainer Shingo, to stop him taking any more pictures. Shingo just stepped back. There was no reaction from him or anyone in Inoue’s camp. They knew they had the answer in the ring.
Inoue was not present, but heard about it and vowed to give his response on the night.
He now meets Nonito Donaire in the World Boxing Super Series' bantamweight final.
Donaire is still potent at bantamweight, but Inoue blows them all away.
My kind of fighter — in and out of the ring.
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