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Naoya Inoue to face Oct.20 Emmanuel Rodriguez vs Jason Moloney winner


By Jim Dower: Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue smashed Juan Carlos Payano by a 1st round knockout on Sunday night in his first round of the World Boxing Super Series tournament in Yokohama, Japan, and he’ll next be facing the winner of the October 20 fight between IBF bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez (18-0, 12 KOs) and Jason Moloney in the next round of the WBSS tourney.

Inoue knocked the hapless Payano out with two punches in round one. It only took two shots, and neither of them were what you could call devastating punches. Payano wasn’t able to track Inoue’s incoming shots, so they both caught him unaware. That could be the sign of age for Payano, as Inoue’s punches weren’t thrown with blistering speed. Payano wasn’t prepared to be hit. The fight was over 70 seconds in before it had even begun.

Inoue’s win over the 34-year-old Payano (20-2, 9 KOs) allowed him to keep his WBA ‘regular’ bantamweight title, but there was never any doubt to begin with. The WBSS tournament has some talented fighters that belong in the tournament, and some filler that clearly are out of place. Payano was out of place, and not capable of giving Inoue (17-0, 15 KOs) a proper test. When Inoue faces the winner of the Emmanuel Rodriguez (18-0, 12 KOs) and Jason Moloney (17-0, 14 KOs), then he’s going to need to show whether he’s for real or not.

Rodriguez, 26, a very talented fighter from Puerto Rico, isn’t going to fold so easily as Inoue’s last two opponents Payano and Jamie McDonnell. We could see Inoue have to deal with some real adversity for for the first time in his career against Rodriguez, because he is by far the best fighter that ‘Monster’ will have ever faced. Inoue has looked good as a pro, but his opposition has been woeful. He’s not been fighting the best in each division he’s been fighting in. To be sure, Rodriguez still hasn’t established himself as the #1 fighter at bantamweight, but he sure looks like he’s one of the top three in the division right now.

The 27-year-old Moloney is going to have a hard time dealing with the talent and punching power of Rodriguez. This fight could turn out to be just as one-sided as Inoue’s fight against Payano. Moloney has wins over Kohei Kono, Immanuel Naidjala, Julias Kisarawe and Lolito Sonsona. Moloney doesn’t possess the amateur background that Rodriguez has had, and he doesn’t look anywhere near as good as him.

Rodriguez recently beat Paul Butler, Giovanni Delgado, Robinson Lavinanza and Alberto Guevera.

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