Many believe that Naoya Inoue is the number one pound-for-pound fighter on the planet in the wake of his stoppage win over Marlon Tapales to become undisputed super-bantamweight champion, but one former world champion has hit back at those claims.
In his 21st consecutive title fight, Inoue knocked out Tapales to round ten to win his second undisputed title in just twelve months and truly conquer the 122lb scene, after knocking out the poster boy of the division Stephen Fulton five months prior.
As a result, many fans are suggesting that four-weight world champion Inoue is both the pound-for-pound king and 2023 Fighter of the Year, with Devin Haney and Terence Crawford the standout rivals for both of those honours.
However on social media, former light-heavyweight world champion Antonio Tarver, who famously defeated Roy Jones Jr in their trilogy of contests, argued that it is disrespectful to Crawford to suggest that Inoue’s achievements trump those of the undefeated American.
“Y’all gotta stop this!! Who he beat? That’s disrespectful… we haven’t seen enough of @naoyainoue_410 and answer me this how many P4P champions has he defeated?
“He ain’t fought a top fighter and those lighter divisions with no real names in them can’t count as much as the glamour divisions where top fighters are known to rome.
“He in the top #10 and until someone defeats @tbudcrawford he’s the #P4P Champ stop playing with his name and his brand build Inoue name off his fights not off the #P4P discussions!!”
Former rival of Tarver, Roy Jones Jr, has also previously argued that Inoue is not in the same league as Crawford, but only time will tell as to whether ‘The Monster’ has done enough to claim the prestigious Fighter of the Year award.