Monster Performance: Naoya Inoue Gets Off The Mat To Knock Out Luis Nery In Six

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Posted on 05/06/2024

By: Sean Crose

He ended up victorious, but Naoya Inoue found himself in a place few expected him to be Monday in Tokyo, Japan – on the mat. A picture perfect left hook by challenger Luis Nery put undisputed super bantamweight champion Inoue down in the first round. Suffice to say, it was the first time the 26-0 Inoue had ever been sent off his feet. Although he rose to beat the count, Inoue had to fend the 35-1 Nery off as the challenger went in for the kill. Nery managed to survive the round, but a point had been made loud and clear – Inoue, when facing the right opponent, could indeed be vulnerable.

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Not that Inoue didn’t rise to the occasion after having tasted the canvas. For, though Nery had a brilliant first, the fight belonged to Inoue from the second round on. Nery himself tasted the mat in the second, then Inoue dropped the gutsy former titlist again in the fifth. And then came the sixth. Nery was already looking thoroughly beaten up while Inoue had taken to taunting his man. Ultimately, it was a Dempseyesque combination from Inoue that sent Nery to the mat for good. His head swinging under the ropes like it was only connected to his torso by a string, the gutsy Nery was the picture of defeat.

At 31 years of age, Inoue’s career is now worth looking at as a whole, for he’s unquestionably one of the greats of this generation of fighters. Many, if not most, analysts feel that either Inoue or Terence Crawford is the greatest active fighter in the world today. While this writer gives a slight edge to Crawford, there’s no denying that Inoue is right up there with the magnificent Nebraskan. For starters, all but three of Inoue’s now 27 wins have come within the distance.

If that’s not enough, the fighter known (understandably) as “The Monster” has won world titles in four separate weight divisions – and has been the undisputed champion in two of those four divisions. Only Crawford can claim to have accomplished such a feat. Inoue is more than just impressive on paper, however. To watch the man in action is like watching a human cannon decimate his targets. His punches are as powerful as the are accurate. We live in hyperbolic times, but it at this point, it’s not ridiculous to ask where Inoue might stand among the sport’s legends.

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