The stage is set for Paul Butler to challenge arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport in Naoya Inoue on Dec. 13. It’s a fight that Butler knows he’s a massive underdog in, going against a fighter like Inoue, but he tells ESPN that he’s absolutely not letting any of that get into his head as he prepares for what he knows will be a massive challenge.
Credit to Butler for both realizing the position he’s in, and also having the awareness to know that if he lets the reputation of Inoue leave him defeated before he even steps in the ring, well, then there’s no real chance he’ll have once he’s inside of it. So Butler emphasizes that he has to be at his best and cannot allow for any mental lapses during this meeting, otherwise it could end abruptly for him.
To that end Butler acknowledges that this is a fight that will get hairy for him at times as he knows that he won’t get through the fight without getting tagged at some point, so he’s been trying to prepare for what Inoue does best, even if that’s not the easiest task in the world.
“It’s not easy preparing for someone like him, but we’ve prepared the best we can. There are moments in the first Donaire fight where he does get caught, he is human, he’s not a robot, I know he calls himself ‘The Monster’, but he’s not a monster, this big beast. He showed vulnerabilities against Donaire in the first fight and I have to go out and find them, and exploit them.”
Butler continues by saying that preparing for someone like Inoue is no easy task, but even though he may be nicknamed ‘The Monster’, he’s a human with vulnerabilities just like the rest of us.
So in order to come out victorious, or at least give himself a fighting chance, Butler knows he’s going to need to lean on being a much more well-rounded fighter than he has been in the past, and that he’s going to need to — and will — put it all together on the night as he expects Inoue to bring the best out of him.