As expected Naoya Inoue became the undisputed bantamweight champion by stopping the reluctant (to say the least) Paul Butler in 11 rounds. For 'the Monster' this ends his run at bantamweight which lasted nine bouts and included two victories over future Hall-of-Famer, Nonito Donaire, Jamie McDonnell, Juan Carlos Payano, Jason Moloney and Emmanuel Rodriguez.
Butler, who had the WBO belt coming into this contest at the Ariake Arena in Japan, did his best to gain a morale victory by going the distance. Making this a tough task was that he also exhibited good set of whiskers, alongside not engaging much. Yet Inoue kept chipping away -- and even resorted to taunting his foe in hopes of luring him into a fight -- finally he was able to break him down with a blistering flurry of punches to begin the 11th that ended things.
Naoya Inoue Knocks Out Butler in Rd 11 to Become Undisputed Bantamweight Champion | FIGHT HIGHLIGHTS
It's clear that Inoue is one of the very elite boxers in the sport. Ring Magazine has him ranked second in their pound-for-pound ratings behind Oleksandr Usyk, and just ahead of Terence Crawford. Regardless, it's clear that this Japanese dynamo is in rare company.
There is no blend of speed, power and technique quite like Inoue who has stopped 21 of his 24 professional opponents. In this bout versus Butler, it was evident that he had worked on upper body movement and proved to be an elusive target when his opponent did actually let his hands go. It's clear that defense has been a priority since getting banged up in his initial match-up against Donaire back in 2019. He has a right hand that can buzz you up top, and a left hook to the body that will leave you breathless.
Now, he will move up to junior featherweight where there are two unified champions in Stephen Fulton and Murodjon Akhmadaliev. There are rumors that Fulton may move up to featherweight and engage in a rematch versus Brandon Figueroa, while 'MJ' has to fulfill an IBF mandatory with Marlon Tapales.
Regardless, there is a palpable buzz surrounding this shining star from the Far East. When he fights, it matters to a good segment of fans. You get the sense that if he were to perform in America, that there would be a sizable audience that would come see him ply his craft.
Back in 2020, he was scheduled to face John Riel Casimero in a unification about in April of that year at the Mandalay Bay that was scuttled by the pandemic. This broadcast which would've been wrapped around the NFL Draft on ESPN would've served as a launching pad for his campaign in the States under the Top Rank banner.
Inoue did eventually face Moloney inside 'the Bubble' at the MGM Grand and then Michael Dasmarinas at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, which was not the biggest stages for a boxer of this caliber. But at age 29, he can still make up for lost time.
Bob Arum, the founder of Top Rank told SNAC.com on Monday night, "He's definitely fighting in the United States next year -- at least once. It's arranged."
And it may not necessarily take place in 'Sin City' this time around.
"We might put him in California, he so huge with the Japanese community, there's massive numbers," stated Arum.
Golden Boy Promotions won the purse bid for the bout between Eimantas Stanionis and Vergil Ortiz for the 'regular' WBA welterweight title. The winning bid was $2.3 million, which edged out the offering from TGB Promotions of $2.1 million. The WBA ruled beforehand that Stanionis who defeated Radzhab Butaev for this belt back in April, will receive 75-percent of the winning bid.
Stanionis-Ortiz is high quality bout featuring two young, undefeated welterweights. Ortiz is rated fifth by Ring Magazine, and Stanionis sixth.
With Golden Boy winning the bid, it looks like DAZN will be broadcasting this event, and they will control when and where this bout takes place.
So what's the latest as it relates to the bout between undisputed lightweight champion, Devin Haney, and Vasiliy Lomachenko?
"Its pretty well finished, but we have to decide on a site, and all that kind of stuff," said Arum. "It's sort of complicated, but it's a good complication."
Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Haney is making it clear that he would like to fight in March and before Ramadan. But a source tells SNAC that ESPN doesn't want this match-up in this month because of their focus on 'March Madness."
As for the bout for all the marbles at heavyweight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, Arum stated,"that fight will take place within the first four months of next year."
This Saturday Showtime has a special edition of ShoBox that features an attractive lightweight showdown between unbeatens, Michel Rivera, and Frank Martin... Also, Golden Boy has a card from the Commerce Casino that features Raul Curiel-Brad Solomon, and some of their other prospects, that will be streamed on DAZN....Bob Arum on 'Big Baby' Anderson, "He's the bet young heavyweight that I've had. When I had (Muhammad) Ali, he wasn't a young heavyweight, he was the heavyweight champion."....the '30 for 30' on Jeanette Lee, 'the Black Widow' was very good...I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org