The lower-weight classes normally fly under the radar. They often house lesser-known names and simply don’t receive the hoopla that fighters from heavier divisions frequently receive. Naoya Inoue, however, is changing that storyline.

Whenever the 30-year-old Japanese star enters the ring, he immediately becomes must-see television. By and large, Inoue (25-0, 22 KOs) might be a draw but for the most part, his in-ring showcases were predictable.

It was easy to tell how Inoue’s bouts would play out. As soon as the opening bell rang, he was all about destruction, often taking out his opponents before they got a chance to get comfortable. Still, despite being a pound-for-pound star, there was a belief that Stephen Fulton had enough tools in his tool bag to trouble Inoue, and, according to some, beat him.

The naysayers merely motivated Inoue. So, with a chip ostensibly on his shoulders, Fulton paid the ultimate price.

Inoue was all business this past Tuesday morning. He stalked Fulton around the ring, blasted him with violent shots, and eventually forced referee Hector Afu to step in and save the Philly native.

A ton of prominent names tuned in to witness Inoue’s one-sided demolition job, Manny Pacquiao being one of them. It takes a ton to impress the former eight-division champion. He’s seen his fair share of great fighters and has seen practically every style imaginable. With that said, after seeing what Inoue was able to accomplish against another terrific fighter, Pacquiao hurled a ton of praise in his direction.

“Inoue has great speed and lots of power behind his punches,” said Pacquiao on his social media account.  

There’s something to be said about today’s crop of fighters. A number of them are world champions, others have proven their greatness over time. In the case of Inoue, nevertheless, Pacquiao believes that he’s a cut above those superlatives.

“He’s a special fighter!”