Inoue’s P4P claim heats up: Tarver questions resume as Crawford retains top spot

By Chris Williams - 12/26/2023 - Comments

Antonio Tarver sounded off on social today in response to fans saying Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue deserves to be the #1 P4P as the best fighter in boxing over Terence Crawford after the Japanese star defeated Marlon Tapales to capture the super bantamweight undisputed championship tonight in Tokyo, Japan.

Inoue showed tonight against a very average Tapales (37-4, 19 KOs) that he’s not deserving of the top pound-for-pound spot with the way that he labored to an eventual tenth round knockout of a punching bag-like fighter. Naoya got hit a lot and looked nothing like a fighter that his fans view as #1 P4P.

Tarver’s doubts

The former world champion Tarver questions who the 30-year-old ‘Monster’ Inoue (26-0, 23 KOs) has beaten during his thirteen-year professional career for him to be considered the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.

Yeah, Inoue has captured world titles in four weight classes, and he’s a two-division undisputed champion, but who has he actually beaten to accomplish those things? Naoya’s best wins have come against flawed fighters.

Inoue looked poor in his first fight against 40-year-old Nonito Donaire in 2019, and you could tell from watching that match that he would have never beaten the Filipino star if he were younger. In his prime, Donaire would have made easy work of Inoue, and it wouldn’t have been pretty.

Crawford has beaten far better opposition during his career than Inoue in becoming a two-division undisputed champion. Bud’s recent win over Errol Spence Jr. last July cements his position last he top pound-for-pound fighter in boxing.

Naoya Inoue’s best wins:

Marlon Tapales
Ryoichi Taguchi
Emanuel Rodriguez
Omar Narvaez
Jamie McDonnell
Juan Carlos Payano
Jason Moloney
Stephen Fulton
Nonito Donaire: 40-years-old
Paul Butler

For Inoue to be considered the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in boxing, he’s going to need to run the gauntlet by going up to 126 & 130 and beating these killers:

Emanuel Navarrete
Joe Cordina
Luis Lopez
Lamont Roach
Rafael Espinoza

“Tarver’s take: Who has he beat? They have to stop this. That’s disrespectful. We haven’t seen enough of Inoue,” said Antonio Tarver on social media, talking about Naoya Inoue being undeserving of the top pound-for-pound status.

“Answer me this: How many pound-for-pound champions has he [Naoya Inoue] beaten? He ain’t fought a top fighter, and those lighter divisions have no real names in them. They don’t count as much as the glamour divisions where the top fighters are known to roam.

“He’s in the top 10 until someone beats Terence Crawford. He’s the top pound-for-pound. Build Inoue’s name off of [actual] fights, not on pound-for-pound discussions.”