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VIDEO: Naoya Inoue – Bantamweight Legacy

Image: VIDEO: Naoya Inoue - Bantamweight Legacy

By Geoffrey Ciani: What is the bantamweight legacy of Naoya Inoue?

Last Tuesday in Japan, Inoue stopped WBO bantamweight champion Paul Butler in round 11. That was the final missing piece of the puzzle for Inoue to obtain undisputed status in the 118 pound weight class. Inoue is now the undisputed IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO and lineal world bantamweight champion. Inoue achieved this feat approximately 4 and a half years after making his bantamweight debut back in May 2018.

YouTube video

Inoue is just the 9th boxer to earn undisputed status in the modern 4 belt era. He joined Devin Haney at 135, Jermell Charlo at 154, Canelo Alvarez at 168, Josh Taylor at 140, Oleksandr Usyk at cruiserweight, Terence Crawford at 140, Jermain Taylor at 160, and of course, The Godfather of the modern 4-belt era – Bernard ‘The Executioner’ Hopkins, who first earned this unique distinction back in 2004 during his impressive reign at middleweight.

So in 17 years or so, Inoue is just the 9th boxer to become a 4-belt undisputed world champion, and in terms of undisputed bantamweight champions, Inoue is the first to do it since way back in the 2-belt era nearly 50 years ago – a distinction last held by Enrique Pinder in 1973. So Inoue becoming undisputed at 118 is historically significant. After beating Butler, Inoue has indicated he is planning to move up to 122 pounds, which may seemingly close the book on his career as a bantamweight.

When you think of the greatest bantamweights of all time, there have been many outstanding champions. You have Ruben Olivares, Manuel Ortiz, Fighting Harada, Panama Al Brown, Carlos Zarate, Terry McGovern, Lionel Rose, and of course the great Eder Jofre, who is widely viewed as the greatest bantamweight boxer of all time.

So what is the bantamweight legacy of Naoya Inoue?

This edition of Rummy’s Corner will attempt to explore the answer to that question while also providing a quick recap of Inoue’s accomplishments in the bantamweight division. Please watch and enjoy the video for one man’s opinion. This is Rummy’s Corner (produced and narrated by Geoffrey Ciani).

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