How Naoya Inoue compares to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao after knocking Stephen Fulton out to become the new WBC and WBO super-bantamweight world champion

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Naoya Inoue established himself as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world after beating Stephen Fulton last weekend. His dominant performance saw him mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

It comes as no surprise considering the Japanese boxer’s sensational form during their bout. He brutally knocked out Fulton in the eighth round to collect the WBO and WBC super-bantweight belts and become a four-weight world champion.

Despite coming up in weight and being the smaller man, it was Inoue who appeared to be the stronger fighter. And, in the immediate aftermath, Inoue called out WBA (super) and IBF super-bantamweight world champion Marlon Tapales to a four-belt shoot out at the back end of the year.

Naoya Inoue

His victory over Fulton saw him being compared to another sensational Asian fighter in Pacquiao, who reached out on social media after the bout to congratulate the 30-year-old.

Pacquiao took to Twitter – which has since been rebranded as a messaging platform called X – to say: ‘Inoue has great speed and lots of power behind his punches. He’s a special fighter!’.

While others such as former super featherweight champion Jamel Herring wrote: ‘Inoue is running through weight classes like a prime Manny Pacquiao managed.’

So how does Inoue compare Pacquiao? Well, firstly, both fighters struggled with English growing up. Pacquiao managed to learn the English language later in his career but Inoue has decided to stick with Japanese.

Both fighters embody similar characteristics when it comes to pre-fight press conferences and media events. Inoue isn’t one to cause a scene or scream in someone’s face. He has always expressed himself inside the ring – much like Pacquiao.

But how do they compare on the canvas? Well, Pacquiao – who retired two years ago – remains as the only boxer to win world titles in eight divisions. He won his first title at flyweight and his last a light middleweight.

In total, Pacquiao fought 72 times with 62 wins, 8 losses, and 2 draws. Some of Pacquiao’s best fights and notable victories include wins over seven Hall-of-Famers Timothy Bradley, Juan Manuel MArquez, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Erik Morales.

Being compared to Pacquiao is one hell of a compliment, but it places a lot of pressure on a boxer’s shoulders. Nevertheless, Todd duBoef – the president of Top Rank – believes Inoue is worthy of the comparisons.

floyd mayweather

DuBoef told Sky Sports: ‘He [Inoue] makes me speechless when I watch him. I’ve been in the business since 1993 but when you see speed, power in both hands, boxing IQ the way he has? He is just gripping.’

DuBoef went on to add: ‘He [Inoue] is as exciting a fighter as anyone who has come out of Asia. He is the most exciting thing since Manny Pacquiao in the United States.’

Pacquiao was 168 cm tall (5′ 6.14″) with a reach of 170 cm (5′ 6.93″). He fought out of the southpaw stance. He also knocked out 39 of his 72 opponents – giving him a KO percentage of 54.2.

Additionally, 23 of knockouts came in the early rounds. While 11 came in the mid rounds, and five in the later rounds. He also secured six first-round KO wins during his career.

Meanwhile, Inoue – who is 10 years and nine months into his professional boxing career – is 165 cm tall (5′ 4.96″) with a reach of 171 cm (5′ 7.32″). He also fights out of an orthodox stance.

Inoue has earned himself a 88 per cent KO rate. He has won 22 of his 25 bouts by way of knockout. 11 of those in the early rounds, seven in the mid rounds and four in the later rounds. He has three first-round KO wins.

Some of Inoue’s best performances came against Nonito Donaire, Omar Narvaez, Jamie McDonnell, Emmanuel Rodriguez, Juan Carlos Payano, Adrián Hernandez, and Fulton Jr.

As it stands, Inoue is a four-weight-division world champion. He has held 10 world titles, one of which was a vacant title win, and the rest nine were lineal championship wins.


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