By Keith Idec
Naoya Inoue annihilated Antonio Nieves on Saturday night, but “The Monster” didn’t impress his harshest critic.
Inoue expressed disappointment about the way he performed during a six-round destruction of Nieves at StubHub Center in Carson, California. The unbeaten Japanese boxer picked apart Nieves for six rounds, until Nieves’ trainer, Joe Delguyd, told referee Lou Moret to stop the fight.
Inoue improved to 14-0 and recorded his 12th knockout.
“It wasn’t the sweetest of wins, but I’ll take it and build on this for the next one,” Inoue told The Japan Times. “There wasn’t much I could do when he was running from me the whole time.”
Cleveland’s Nieves moved as much as he could, yet still couldn’t prevent Inoue from hammering him to the body and head during their scheduled 12-round fight for Inoue’s WBO super flyweight title. Inoue landed a hard left hand to Nieves’ body in the fifth round, which forced Nieves to take a knee.
By then it was clear Nieves (17-2-2, 9 KOs) wouldn’t last much longer against a heavy-handed, 24-year-old opponent who had generated a lot of hype entering his debut on American soil. Inoue hurt Nieves badly with a left to the body and a right hand to the head late in the second round, but mistook the 10-second warning for the bell to end the round and let Nieves off the hook four rounds before the fight came to a merciful conclusion.
“I was into it – too into it, actually,” Inoue said regarding his mistake. “It was kind of a waste, I’ll admit that.”
Inoue had hoped to set up a title unification fight against Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez for some time next year, but Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai viciously knocked out Gonzalez in the fourth round of their rematch later Saturday night for Sor Rungvisai’s WBC super flyweight title.
Sor Rungvisai (44-4-1, 40 KOs), who beat Gonzalez by majority decision in their first fight March 18 at Madison Square Garden, dropped Nicaragua’s Gonzalez twice in the fourth round. The second knockdown left Gonzalez flat on his back, unable to continue in the main event of HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” tripleheader.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.