Naoya Inoue stops Emmanuel Rodriguez in Two to Advance to WBSS FInals
By Hector Franco | Senior Writer and Editor
Published: May 18, 2019
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – At The SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow, Scotland Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16 KOs) further cemented himself as one of the best in the world pound-for-pound by making relatively quick work of Puerto Rico’s Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1, 12 KOs).
The semi-finals bout in the World Boxing Super Series in the Bantamweight division was a unification fight for Rodriguez’s IBF Bantamweight title and Inoue’s WBA Bantamweight title. The match was also for The Ring Magazine’s title in the weight class.
Inoue was considered a significant favorite over Rodriguez before the bout leaving Rodriguez to fight with a chip on his shoulder. In the first round, Rodriguez fought on his front foot with some success putting pressure on the Japanese fighter.
Rodriguez was able to land some right hands and left hooks while in exchanges with Inoue on the inside. While it would seem like a sound strategy to surprise Inoue by fighting in an unexpected manner instead of on the back foot, it led to the Puerto Rican being wide open to many punches.
Both men had their moments in the first round, and it could have been scored for Rodriguez, who was fighting for the second time in the United Kingdom. In the second round, reality hit Rodriguez and walloped him.
During an exchange in the middle of the ring, Rodriguez left himself open and was caught with a perfectly placed left hook that sent him to the canvas. Blood began to flow from Rodriguez’s nose, and the end seemed to be near.
Inoue is arguably the best finisher in the sport and quickly took advantage of Rodriguez’s fallen state. The Japanese star knocked Rodriguez down two more times with devastating body punches the first in which was highlighted by the Puerto Rican’s facial expression of pure pain.
The referee put a halt to the fight at the 1:19 mark of the second round.
With the victory over Rodriguez, Inoue now holds the WBA, IBF, and Ring Magazine Bantamweight titles and will head to the tournament finals to face Nonito Donaire who holds the ‘Super’ version of the WBA Bantamweight title.
Inoue at just 26 years of age is ten years younger than the veteran Donaire who has shown glimpses of his former self since returning to the Bantamweight division after years fighting at Super Featherweight and Featherweight.
At this point, there is no definite number one pound-for-pound in the sport. There will be those who favor Lightweight champion, Vasiliy Lomachenko or Welterweight champion, Terence Crawford.
Now that Inoue has a record of 12-0 with 11 knockouts in world title fights including being 7-0 with six knockouts against former world champions, those who feel the Japanese “Monster” is the best in the sport have more ammunition to put behind their man.
(Featured Photo: World Boxing Super Series)