This Halloween it’s not skulls, pumpkins or costumes you should be afraid of, it’s the man they call 怪物 Kaibutsu, The Monster. Nayoa Inoue.
Pictured as Godzilla on the poster for this fight it’s hard to remember that Inoue is a 5 ft 5, 118 lb man, but such is his stature in boxing.
Which every vicious knockout this small, humble man has seemed to grow in size. Every world title, every soul stealing body punch, every battle in the ring he has grown to where he now stands, 100 feet tall crashing down the Las Vegas strip, looking for his opponent.
The David to his Goliath though is plucky Australian Jason Moloney. He and his twin brother Andrew have invaded American boxing with their infectious smiles and stereotypical Aussie charm, but now the smiling stops.
Technically this fight is a clash of purebred finishers and is unlikely to go the distance, something rare in the bantamweight division. Inoue is 19-0 with 16 knockouts, a KO percentage of 84.21%. Moloney is 21-1 with 18 knockouts, a 81.82% KO percentage.
Inoue is a dynamic boxer puncher who has a vicious killer instinct. His timing and accuracy are second to none and his last two fights have proven that not only is he the hardest hitting bantamweight since Carlos Zarate, he has the ability to dig deep and go into the trenches too.
His WBSS semi final was Inoue at his catastrophic best. He knocked out Emanuel Rodríguez (who has won a close split decision over Moloney) in just two rounds. He mixed his attacks to both head and body, bludgeoning Rodríguez into submission.
In his final at the Saitama super arena, he found his toughest test yet. Nonito Donaire is a future hall of famer and although many labelled him over the hill, he turned back the clock and gave Inoue the fight of his life.
The monster fought through a broken orbital bone, broken nose, several cuts and double vision to win a unanimous decision and be presented his Muhammad Ali trophy by his hero, Japan’s greatest ever boxer, Fighting Harada.
This meant that not only was he the scariest bantamweight puncher in recent history, he’d just become one of the scariest all rounders on the planet.
Jason Moloney though is not the sacrificial lamb some commentators would have you believe. In his last five fights he has demonstrated resolve, skill and tenacity in abundance, proving himself a worthy challenger to Inoue.
He came exceedingly close to facing Inoue, when he went 12 rounds with Rodríguez, although he lost that fight and didn’t face Inoue he did show heart and stamina, only losing by the smallest of margins.
That loss though sprung Moloney to action. He knocked out Cris Paulino in 5 rounds. He knocked out Goodluck Mrema in 3 rounds. He knocked out Dixon Flores in 2 rounds. Each win faster than the last, each against better opponents and each more emphatic.
When him and his brother flew in from Australia with the sole purpose of getting inside the bubble and getting a fight, it was a true statement of intent. That intent became a reality when he took on Mexico’s Leonardo Baez.
‘The Smooth one’ dominated throughout and ultimately forced Baez to quit on his stool, mixing aggression and counter punching from start to finish.
Although Inoue is the one bringing the hype, the belts, the name value, don’t for a second believe that this is an easy fight. If it goes the way most are predicting, an Inoue stoppage, then it is not a negative reflection on Moloney, simply a testament to the greatness of the Monster.
Moloney is as tough, durable, and well skilled a bantamweight challenger as exists today, but the question is, are we watching a good champion, or are we watching bonafide greatness?
Ewan Breeze for SimBoxx