Four-division world champion Roy Jones Jr has voiced his belief that Naoya Inoue is not on the same level as the likes of Terence Crawford as the debate for boxing’s pound-for-pound king and 2023 Fighter of the Year award continues.
Inoue defeated Adrian Hernandez to become a world champion in just his sixth fight, claiming the WBC light-flyweight title back in 2014.
Almost eight years on and Inoue has incredibly fought solely in title bouts since, a run stretching over twenty-one fights, where he has scored eighteen knockout victories and moved up an astonishing four weight-classes.
Over the last twelve months, ‘The Monster’ has twice become an undisputed champion – first at bantamweight with a win over Paul Butler, which was followed up by super-bantamweight success against the two unified champions, Stephen Fulton and Marlon Tapales.
As a result, many fans feel that he has earned the status of pound-for-pound number one, but Roy Jones remains unimpressed, believing that the résumé of Terence Crawford is superior, telling Fight Hub that Inoue has a disputable victory against Nonito Donaire.
“Naoya Inoue when he first moved up, he lost to Donaire – don’t forget that. ‘Bud’ ain’t lost to nobody, he moved up three times and lost to nobody. So don’t tell me Inoue’s better than ‘Bud.’”
“Now ‘Bud’s had the opposition to show us, you can’t put Inoue or anybody else on top. He’s proved what we already thought.”
In the face of fans’ urge to see Inoue continue to progress through the weight-classes, Inoue has claimed that super-bantamweight feels like his optimal weight and has revealed plans for at least three more fights before he considers jumping to featherweight.