It may well be unbeaten Sam Goodman’s turn next as far as derailing the “Monster,” Naoya Inoue goes. As fans who watched yesterday’s thrilling fight between Naoya and Luis Nery saw, Goodman was right there in Tokyo, and he called for the next date with the undisputed 122 pound king. Bob Arum suggested the fight could happen in September or October.

And, like so many of Inoue’s previous challengers, Goodman, currently 18-0 and the IBF mandatory contender at super-bantamweight, feels he has the stuff needed to defeat him. Goodman, speaking with Fox Sports Australia, said he has “seen enough” to feel confident, even assured, of victory over the Japanese superstar who is now 27-0(24).

Did that career-first knockdown that Inoue suffered in the Nery fight add extra confidence to Goodman, the way it will perhaps have done in the case of numerous fighters out there, who saw that, yes, Inoue IS human? Goodman says the knockdown Inoue suffered showed how “at any given moment, anyone can beat anyone.” And Goodman, who may not appear to be a big puncher going by his record, with his 8 KO wins, says he can box his way to a win over Inoue.

“Look, I’ve seen enough in the fight to know I can do what I need to do to win that fight,” Goodman said. “It’s a massive opportunity for me. It’s something very exciting and I’ve been saying it for how long, I want world titles. He’s got them all, I’ve got to fight him. I’ve got to box my best, but I believe if I do that, I can beat this man. At any given moment, anyone can beat anyone. I’ve seen plenty in there to show I can really push him, not just push him but beat him.”

Again, Goodman is far from the first fighter to feel this way ahead of a challenge of Inoue, and he will not be the last. Fighters of course have to believe they can win, but does Goodman really have the tools needed to pull off the upset against Inoue? That knockdown scored by Nery really did cause a huge sensation, and to repeat, it will have given so many fighters added belief that they can halt Inoue if they land the right shot. But how composed, how calm and how utterly professional was Inoue as he took the count, got himself fully together, and then got up and went right back to work? If anything, the way Inoue reacted to what was a huge punch to the head showed us all how hard it really is going to be for anyone to defeat him. Ever.

Inoue is not only the best fighter on the planet right now, he is also the most consistently exciting fighter in the world, regardless of weight class.


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