Super bantamweight kingpin Naoya Inoue’s inaugural undisputed defense is already on the table, as Mike Coppinger reports that “The Monster” has agreed to face Luis Nery in Tokyo this May.
Never has the term “hostile territory” been more appropriate. Nery (35-1, 27 KO), who gritted his way past Azat Hovhannisyan in a vicious war last February and followed up by smoking the overmatched Froilan Saludar, is persona non grata in Japan after failing a drug test and subsequently missing weight in back-to-back knockouts of Shinsuke Yamanaka.
These led to a lifetime ban, but per ESPN, “officials involved have been assured the Mexican will be reinstated.” To be fair, if you really wanted to punish someone, there are few crueler options than pitting them against Inoue (26-0, 23 KO).
Hyperbole aside, Nery is arguably Inoue’s biggest remaining threat at 122 alongside Murodjon Akhmadaliev. “Biggest” is a relative term, of course, but “Pantera” hits harder than any Inoue opponent to date and has some craft to back it up. The only way this doesn’t produce fireworks is if one of them goes down early.
I say Inoue finishes him to the body in seven. What do you think?