Omar Narvaez-Naoya Inoue: Pre-Fight Report Card

By Cliff Rold

There is a standard way to work one’s way up the ranks in boxing. 

First, there are the fights to get the feet wet.  Next comes the toppling of old veterans who might teach a trick or two before they fall down.  A smart manager then looks for someone durable, someone who can flirt with victory and make their man the better in the long run.

Then contention and title chases ensue.

Sometimes, guys cut in line.  Vasyl Lomachenko did it in 2014, falling just short of a title in his (depending on what one counts) second pro fight, winning one in his next, and defending before the year was out.  That sort of push takes a special talent.

That talent has to have a special self-belief and big balls to make the effort at the brass ring before they’ve taken their time as an apprentice. 

Japan’s Inoue is showing that kind of moxie.  In April, in only his fifth pro fight, he challenged veteran Adrian Hernandez for the WBC title at 108 lbs.  Inoue impressed, going through Hernandez for a knockout win.  Hernandez, at the time, was regarded by some as the top of the class; Donnie Nietes was the most common alternate choice.

There is less argument at 115 lbs.  Carlos Cuadras is moving up but the consensus remains with the former Argentine Olympian.  Narvaez, even at 39, is a cagey, skilled, tough out.  He is no easy mark for the younger man.  If Inoue can pull of the win (and he has home court to do it), that would be one hell of a statement.

There are worse ways to spend a Tuesday.  US fans with TyC on their cable systems can tune in for the card at 7 AM EST.  

Let’s go to the report card.

The Ledgers

Omar Narvaez
Age: 39
Title: WBO Jr. Bantamweight (2010-Present, 11 Defenses)
Previous Titles: WBO Flyweight (2002-10, 16 Defenses)
Height: 5’3
Weight: 114.5 lbs.
Hails from: Trelew, Chubut, Argentina
Record: 43-1-2, 23 KO
Rankings: #1 (TBRB, BoxingScene, ESPN, Ring, BoxRec)
Record in Major Title Fights: 28-1-1, 12 KO
Current/Former World Champions Faced: 5 (Adonis Rivas UD12; Luis Lazarte DQ10; Brahim Asloum UD12; Carlos Tamara UD12; Nonito Donaire L12)


Naoya Inoue

Age: 21
Title: WBC Light Flyweight (2014-Present, 1 Defense)
Previous Titles: None
Height: 5’4
Weight: 115 lbs.
Hails from: Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan
Record: 7-0, 6 KO
Rankings: All at 108 lbs. - #1 (TBRB, BoxRec), #2 (BoxingScene, ESPN), #3 (Ring)
Record in Major Title Fights: 2-0, 2 KO
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: 1 (Adrian Hernandez TKO6)


Pre-Fight: Speed – Narvaez B+; Inoue B+ 

Pre-Fight: Power – Narvaez B; Inoue B+
Pre-Fight: Defense – Narvaez A; Inoue B
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Narvaez B+; Inoue A

Jumping two full weight classes, Inoue looked like he fills out well to the weight but what affect will the pounds have?  He’s shown power so far, but will it have the same mustard we’ve seen so far at 108?  Narvaez isn’t a big Jr. Bantamweight.  He wasn’t a big Flyweight.  He’s always had good whiskers.  He didn’t fire back much, but he lasted the route with Nonito Donaire at Bantamweight.  He won’t be as awed by Inoue, not even on the road.

Narvaez’s defense is what makes this so interesting.  He’s unlikely to stop Inoue, but he can frustrate him with angles and unpredictable head movement.  Once Narvaez makes guys miss, he’s there with awkward counters and quick attacks. 

He hasn’t always faced the best guys, especially at 115 lbs.  Narvaez gets underrated for that.  In the US, his non-effort against Donaire also is a factor.  His body of work says he’s been very good for a very long time.  Inoue will have to be as special as his team seems to think he is to pull this off so early in his career.  

The Pick

Inoue is taking a big bite at the apple. Narvaez hasn't always tested himself the way one would like but he's passed his share of tough exams. Cagey and defensively skilled, he could frustrate Inoue in spots. Still, the feeling is Inoue is picking an aging titlist who is small for 115. It's a tough, but calculated, risk. Inoue's risk will pay off with a decision win but there may be some debate on the visiting side.

Report Card Picks 2014: 59-28

Cliff’s Notes…

Inoue’s year to date, and challenge of Narvaez, is why Fighter of the Year voting isn’t done yet here at BoxingScene.  An undercard performer is why Fight isn’t in yet either…whenever former Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi (20-4, 10 KO) is fighting, a war can break out.  This is no different.  He and Pedro Guevara (23-1-1, 15 KO) are locked in for a vacant belt at 108 lbs.  Yaegashi is attempting to win a title in his third weight class, dropping a division his last fight. Guevara is younger, hungry, and has less wear. Yaegashi is only months from being stopped for the first time in a physical affair with Roman Gonzalez. The pick is Guevara, the taller man with longer arms, to outwork Yaegashi in what could become a wild affair. 
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by scap on 12-30-2014

I love these young super skilled asskickers rigo, lomo, inoue! Boxing needs its own public relations firm to market these potential global superstars.

Comment by crold1 on 12-30-2014

[QUOTE=glenn mcrory;15236907]No. _______[/QUOTE] TBRB had him 1 and so did this site. Ring had him 3 or 4. There was certainly a case

Comment by glenn mcrory on 12-30-2014

[QUOTE=BIGPOPPAPUMP;15236760][B]Hernandez, at the time, was regarded by some as the top of the class[/B][/QUOTE] No. _______

Comment by 5burowz on 12-30-2014

Green K for working link

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (4)
Top Headlines Oscar Valdez To Start Training Camp With Reynoso on October 1 Anthony Joshua: I'll Fight Wilder Even If He Loses To Tyson Fury Juanma: I Hope Gamboa Faces Me, Doesn't Run To Fight Loma Hearn: Wilder Must Agree Now, We Won't Wait Until Fury Fight! Joshua: Povetkin Strong, But Didn't Hurt Me In The First Round Photos: Luke Campbell Avenges Loss To Yvan Mendy Dillian Whyte To Anthony Joshua: I'm Here, Ready To Fight Next Photos: Sergey Kuzmin Stops Injured David Price in Four Joshua Wants Wilder-Fury Winner April 13 at Wembley Stadium Photos: Anthony Joshua Blasts Out Povetkin - MEGA Gallery Anthony Joshua: Fans Can Decide My April Foe! Photos: Lawrence Okolie Defeats Matty Askin in a Stinker Photos: Shakhram Giyasov Breaks Down, Stops Laguna Danny Garcia: Porter Loss Was Tough, I Have A lot of Fight Left! Jayson Velez Demolishes Orlando Cruz in Two Rounds Krael Shocks Borrego on Mayweather Card, Bellows is Upset Selina Barrios Dominates Juarez: Wants Taylor, Mayer, Serrano Hearn: Fury is The Most Unentertaining Fighter I've Ever Seen! Anthony Joshua: I Got My Knockout Streak Back Povetkin Credits Joshua For Big Win, Has No Excuses Over Loss Arum Very Interested in Bringing Canelo and Golovkin To ESPN Danny Gonzalez Edges Johnny Hernandez in Tough Fight Hearn: We Want Wilder Now, It's Biggest Fight in World Boxing Firat Arslan, Emre Cukur, Tarik Sozer Victorius in Istanbul Fury Not Impressed With Joshua Win: Biggest Bum I Ever Saw Photos: Tony Bellew, Oleksandr Usyk - Face To Face at Wembley Anthony Joshua-Alexander Povetkin - CompuBox Punch Stats Joshua's Promoter: We'll Try For The Deontay Wilder Fight Again Anthony Joshua Drops, Stops Alexander Povetkin in Seventh Anthony Joshua-Alexander Povetkin: LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Jonathan Taconing Dominates Vince Paras, Retains in Manila Luke Campbell Gets Revenge, Decisions Yvan Mendy Joshua vs. Povetkin: CompuBox Historical Review Luke Campbell vs. Yvan Mendy - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Lawrence Okolie Decisions Matty Askin in Very Ugly Fight Joshua Wants To Emulate Ronaldo and Pacquiao's Longevity Lawrence Okolie vs. Matty Askin - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Anthony Joshua-Alexander Povetkin: Stats & Stakes Sergey Kuzmin Stops a Tired David Price in Four Rounds David Price vs. Sergey Kuzmin - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard

Latest Active Forum Threads