Naoya “The Monster” Inoue lived up to his moniker in terrifying fashion this morning with a two-round mauling of Nonito Donaire to claim the WBC bantamweight title.
He then made clear his desire to become undisputed champion at 118, and it turns out that the feeling’s mutual. WBO champ Paul Butler tells DAZN that his team is already in talks with Inoue to square off by the end of the year, and he’s willing to go to his opponent’s home turf to make it happen.
If true, you have to give Butler (34-2, 15 KO) genuine props. He’s 33 years old and, as the previous mandatory challenger before John Riel Casimero got himself stripped and left Butler to cruise past Jonas Sultan for the now-vacant title, there’s nothing stopping him from taking risk-free voluntary defenses for the next year and just enjoying his champion status. He’s taking his shot at making history and deserves all the respect in the world.
Especially since, with all due respect to Butler’s boxing skills, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone outside his immediate family who thinks he’s got a prayer.
He’s two fights removed from a narrow split decision over Willibaldo Garcia Perez and was tabbed as a massive underdog against Casimero. His biggest fight to date saw him dropped twice and swept on two cards by Emmanuel Rodriguez, whom Inoue (23-0, 20 KO) bulldozed in 4:19 two fights later.
But Paul’s going for it anyway. Godspeed.