ProBox TV analyst Shawn Porter’s recent comments on Naoya Inoue – that the Japanese star would need to conquer America to become a global superstar – have been roundly criticized.

It’s an age-old debate, whether a fighter needs to crack America to make it big, but as it stands, Inoue is huge in Japan and highly regarded around the globe. 

The 31-year-old Inoue (26-0, 23 KOs), also known as “Monster,” will fight Mexico’s Luis Nery in front of 55,000 at the Tokyo Dome on May 6 and already is, for many, the best fighter in the sport – and certainly in the top two alongside Terence Crawford.

Top Rank vice president Todd duBoef strongly disagreed with Porter’s comments, saying that Inoue is not only possibly the greatest fighter he has seen but that he is already an icon. 

“I totally disagree with that, but that’s his opinion,” duBoef said of Porter’s comments. “Selfishly, I’d love to have [Inoue] in America. He is a phenom. I’ve said this: I think he’s the best fighter I’ve ever seen in my 30 years … complete fighter, because I like an aggressive style, power in both hands, IQ, defense, offense. He does everything.

“But he’s in a market that supports him so well, too. He doesn’t need to go to America. [For Manny] Pacquiao, the Philippines is an under-resourced economy. Japan is a fully developed economy, with big stadiums and big media platforms.

“[Shohei] Ohtani had to go to [Major League Baseball] because that was the fullest, most opportune place to play baseball, right? Japan didn’t have the most opportune place for him to grow as a baseball player; he had to go there. Inoue can name his place. He can do it in Japan, or he can do it in America, or we could go to Wembley [Stadium in London] to do it.”

For now, though, Inoue is on course to shatter more records in Japan, starting off against Nery next month at the Tokyo Dome.

 “I think it’s going to surpass [Mike] Tyson and [Buster] Douglas as the all-time biggest boxing event in the history of the country,” duBoef said of Inoue-Nery. “He’s a phenom. Do we have to take him on the road away from [home]? He’s a gift to the country, right? Does he have to go on the road to appeal to other countries? It’s a little narcissistic of us to say, ‘In order to be a star, you need to come to America.’ It’s kind of bulls***, right? I kind of wish we didn’t look at that, and we appreciated it.”

Matchroom took Anthony Joshua to America to fight Jarell Miller in 2019, but when Miller tested positive for PEDs, Andy Ruiz stepped in and stunned Joshua in Madison Square Garden in New York. Joshua has not boxed Stateside since. Having tried to make it big in the U.S., Joshua has since boxed in Saudi Arabia and back in the U.K.

 I think we all have visions – we see the black-and-white photos of the Beatles getting off the plane, and they had to come to America to make it, the Rolling Stones … coming to America to make it, and Levi jeans …” duBoef added.

“I think it’s a very shallow perspective in today’s world. I don’t think you have to be in America. I think the world has become so flat today that we’re so connected. When [inoue] fights, he trends globally on all platforms as the No. 1 thing going on at that moment. He’s resonating. We’re able to transmit a signal live and everybody can see it. So I find it a little selfish to think that he has to fight in America to be a superstar.

“For our purposes, damn right, I’d love him in America! I want to bring that little gem as close to home as I can.”