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Arum planning Naoya Inoue vs. John Riel Casimero or February or March 2021

Naoya Inoue

By Chris Williams: Bob Arum of Top Rank is planning on setting up a unification fight between bantamweight champions Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue and John Riel Casimero for February or March 2021.

Still, Arum doubts that WBO bantamweight champion Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) will be able to take the fight with ‘Monster’ Inoue (20-0, 17 KOs) in February or March because the exciting 31-year-old Filipino talent fought only once in 2020 with his third-round knockout of Duke Micah on September 26th.

Casimero might need another fight under his belt to get properly tuned up to take on the dangerous IBF/WBA 118-lb champion Inoue.

Inoue to fight in February or March

“My Japanese partner [Akihiro Honda] said they would like to get Inoue back in action by February or March, the first quarter of next year, and that’s what we are going to do,” Arum said to the BusinessMirror. “And Casimero is a very good possibility [as Inoue’s next opponent].

Should Casimero, 31, decide against facing Inoue in February or March, Arum will need to find an opponent for the Japanese star. Inoue, 27, recently stopped #2 WBA Jason Moloney (21-2, 18 KOs) by a seventh-round knockout last month on October 31st on ESPN+ in ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Naoya Inoue

Inoue dominated every round, dropping Moloney twice en route to a seventh-round knockout.

For the fans that were enthralled with ‘Monster’ Inoue’s previous fight against Nonito Donaire last year in November, it was disappointing to see Naoya beating the Australian Moloney like a drum in seven one-sided rounds.

In hindsight, it would have been a lot more interesting if Top Rank boss Arum had given the former four-division world champion Donaire the rematch against Inoue that he was asking for.

It’s not surprising that Arum didn’t make that fight, though, as Inoue took a lot of punishment against Donaire and ended up with a broken nose and fractured eye ridge.

Arum wouldn’t want Donaire potentially wrecking Inoue’s career potential by hurting him in the rematch. As powerful as Donaire is, Inoue couldn’t afford to take the risk of a second fight against him.

It would have been a lot more interesting for the boxing fans than watching Inoue beat up on the hapless Moloney, who looked like he didn’t belong inside the same ring with him.

Casimero has the option of fighting Inoue next

“He [Casimero] can’t get it on by February or March, and that’s Inoue’s next fight,” said Arum about Casimero. “And if certainly, we’ll consider him for that fight if he is ready to do it,” said Arum.

Naoya Inoue

(Photo credit: Leo Wilson/Premier Boxing Champions)

Inoue is a good fighter, but he needs to be consistently matched against the best at 118 for his fights to be entertaining to watch. Putting Inoue in with opposition that is so far below his grade, it’s pointless.

It’s not interesting to watch, and it doesn’t do anything for Inoue’s popularity. My thoughts were in watching Inoue beat up Moloney were, ‘Why did Arum match Inoue against this guy?’

The hint that Moloney didn’t deserve a fight with Inoue came with his loss to Emmanuel Rodriguez in 2018. That defeat should have filtered Moloney out as an opponent for Inoue in my book.

“I thought Inoue looks sensationalized, you know, he reminded me of the young Manny Pacquiao the way he fought, and he is just a tremendous fighter with a great footwork, very fast, and he punches as I’ve never seen a bantamweight punch like it,” said Arum.

Inoue doesn’t remind Chris Williams of Pacquiao. If a young Pacquiao had fought Inoue at bantamweight, it would be a wipeout. Pacquiao is much more rugged and complex than Inoue, who is just a guy with power and speed. Inoue doesn’t take punches well, as we saw in his fight with Donaire.


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