Naoya Inoue has looked practically unbeatable during his time in the pros. However, despite beating his opponents senselessly, there was something about Stephen Fulton that made fans around the world believe in him.
The Philly native had it all - speed, defensive acumen, and ring IQ that could bemuse just about anyone. With the two agreeing to meet up this past Tuesday morning in Inoue’s native land of Japan, even Inoue expressed concern for what Fulton brought to the table. Those doubts, ultimately, were eventually put to bed.
Although it was his first time venturing off to the super bantamweight division, Inoue (25-0, 22 KOs) sliced through Fulton’s normally sturdy defense. Winning a lopsided decision wasn’t enough for the 30-year-old. So, just as Fulton’s defense began leaking and presenting more and more openings, Inoue took advantage, taking him out in the eighth round.
Like the rest of the boxing world, Andre Rozier watched them closely from his palatial estate in New York. Before things unfolded, the renowned trainer always believed that Inoue would come out on top but that Fulton would give him a bevy of issues. Needless to say, even Rozier was dumbfounded as to how things played out.
Of course, having blasted Fulton, fans and media members are curious as to Inoue’s weight ceiling. But while some are of the belief that the Japanese star could pack on the pounds and continue his ascent, Rozier is convinced that Inoue has already reached his physical limits.
“I think 122 is it for him,” said Rozier to BoxingScene.com during a recent interview. “I think if he goes to 26, those guys will be a little bit bigger. I think it would be a little bit too much for him.”
Whether Inoue takes Rozier’s advice or not is yet to be seen. But, there could be another name that’s thrown into the ring with Inoue to test him even further.
Bob Arum, Inoue’s current promoter, has always been intrigued by the possibility of his pound-for-pound star facing off against Vasiliy Lomachenko. Normally, the lightweight contender wouldn’t be pertinent to the conversation. Nevertheless, Arum might be running out of viable options.
Lomachenko, naturally, is the bigger man. Facing someone as gifted as the former two-time Olympic gold medalist is a dream fight for Arum. Rozier though, doesn’t believe that placing them in the ring against one another would be sagacious on Inoue’s part.
There’s a need to see Inoue tested. With his level of opposition rising, his skills have been accentuated. Still, bearing all that in mind, it would be a bit on the unfair side if Inoue and Lomachenko eventually matched up.
“I think Loma is entirely too big for Inoue. Lomachenko is all that, punching power, speed, angles. Let’s keep the monster where the monster belongs.”