Cleat Geeks

Uppercuts & Count Outs

On the way up…

He’s a monster from Japan who destroys everything in his path… No, we’re not talking about Godzilla. We’re talking about super bantamweight phenom Naoya Inoue. Inoue earned the nickname “The Monster” because… well, he’s a monster. He gets into the ring, mauls his competition, and then goes home. That’s pretty much been his routine since he turned pro back in 2012 at the age of 19. He’s only had nine professional fights, but he’s won them all in convincing fashion. Eight of those victories came by way of knockout, which gives him an 89% KO percentage thus far in his career. This kid really is a monster!


In most cases, boxers are eased into their professional careers. Handlers are usually reluctant to put young, raw fighters in the ring against highly skilled and experienced boxers right out of the gate. “The Monster” isn’t like most cases. He skipped the cupcakes.


He fights out of Ohashi Boxing Gym, which is a gym that takes pride in testing its fighters early and often. Ohashi Boxing Gym believes in “giving fans the best fights and accepting that a loss [isn’t] career defining.” As such, they’ve pitted Inoue against champion after champion from the very start.


His first fight was against the Filipino champion. Inoue won via knockout. His second fight was against the Thai champion. Inoue won via knockout. His third fight was against Japan’s number one-ranked boxer. Inoue won via knockout — you’ve noticed the pattern. In Inoue’s fourth fight, he defeated Ryoichi Taguchi to win the Japanese light flyweight title. So at age 20, with only four professional fights under his belt, Inoue was already a title holder. Just two fights later, in his sixth bout, Inoue won his first world title by knocking out Adrián Hernández to earn the WBC light flyweight championship belt. If anyone doubted this kid’s abilities heading into his eighth fight, those doubts were soon put to rest. In that fight, Inoue laid waste to WBO Junior Bantamweight Champion Omar Andrés Narváez, knocking Narváez out with a body blow in the second round. Before that fight, Narváez boasted an impressive 43-1-2 record and had made twenty-seven title defenses. By dominating Narváez, Inoue announced to the boxing world that he is ready to compete at the highest level.


On the way out…

Roy Jones, Jr. is in the headlines again, but it’s for all the wrong reasons this time around.


Jones has been stealing headlines his entire career. He was the Boxing Writers Association of America’s “Fighter of the Decade” for the ‘90s, and he remained a force to be reckoned with up until around 2004. During his career, Roy Jones, Jr. won world titles in four different weight classes (middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight). He has beaten all-time great fighters like Felix Trinidad, Bernard Hopkins, and James Toney. Therefore, most of the headlines that have been published about Jones over the years have been about his amazing boxing talents and his dominance as a fighter — his foray into rapping and acting got some attention too — but journalists aren’t writing about that stuff nowadays.


The most recent headlines concerning Roy Jones, Jr. have been about his next “fight.” He wants to fight a fan! That is correct, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters of all time has fallen so far that he is now looking to get into the ring with a fan instead of another professional boxer. If the fan wins, the fan gets $100,000. If Jones wins, he gets a victory over a fan, which is completely worthless. If Jones loses, he’ll probably seek out a deserted island to live out the rest of his days on because he most likely won’t want to show his face in public ever again.

Win, lose, or draw, Roy Jones, Jr. desperately needs to hang up his gloves after this one last charade. It would certainly be a sad and comical way to wrap up an outstanding career, but it’s absolutely necessary at this point. He’s 47 years old and he just can’t physically compete at a high level anymore. When Jones was in his prime, he was renowned for his speed, reflexes, and overall athleticism. Those are the attributes that he built such a successful career on. Unfortunately, Father Time has caught up with Jones, and he no longer possesses the qualities that once made him elite.


The time has come for Jones to fall back on his acting and rapping skills abilities. There are plenty of things he can do after this fan fighting stunt to make money, but boxing should not be one of them. He needs to put the squared circle behind him for good.


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