It’s been a challenging year for us all as the pandemic has altered the way we do things on a daily basis.
One thing you can count on that will happen regardless is people celebrating the holidays. One of the more popular holidays around is Halloween, which is this Saturday.
When thinking about Halloween and with everything going on this year, I immediately ventured off in my mind to my childhood where I would look forward to the annual wrestling event “Halloween Havoc.” This annual WCW (World Championship Wrestling) event featured some of the best in the business battling each other under some unique circumstances. Does that sound familiar?
This Saturday night, live from the MGM Bubble in Las Vegas, we have Unified Bantamweight Champion Naoya “The Monster” Inoue (19-0) going up against Jason Moloney (21-1). This is an interesting matchup as the winner may very well get a fight with WBO Bantamweight Champion John Riel Casimero (30-4).
Let’s take a look at each fighter and see what we should expect on Saturday night.
The Unified Champion Naoya Inoue has the nickname of “The Monster” and he fights like one in the ring. It was September 2017, when I was sitting next to Colin Morrison and saw Inoue live from ringside for the first time after seeing countless videos of him on the internet. The first thing that came to mind was how hard his shots sounded when he landed on Antonio Nieves. His hand speed and footwork were top notch and he was living up to the hype. Me and Colin looked at each other and were in agreement that his stardom was in the not so distant future.
Then when he fought Emmanuel Rodriguez, I saw the same but realized early that he was getting hit with an over hand right too cleanly. An error that he would soon correct but it was something to think about.
In the Donaire fight which was an absolute classic, he suffered a bad cut over his right eye which caused somewhat of an extended delay in his return. The question will be whether that cut is yesterday’s news or if it will become a problem on Saturday night.
When you see an Inoue fight, there is the blistering speed, the outstanding punching power (especially those hooks to the body) and great footwork. This Saturday, I expect to see all of this displayed for the world to see as it’s his Top Rank/ESPN debut.
Jason Moloney is a bantamweight who loves to bring the action against his opponents. While the majority of his fights were in Australia, he made his U.S debut in 2018 against Emmanuel Rodriguez (who was knocked out by Inoue) and lost by way of decision.
After that loss, Moloney regrouped and had three fights in Australia. He then recently made his way back to the U.S against Leonardo Baez (18-2).
In this fight, we saw a more focused Moloney, who scored a seventh round TKO. We also saw the hand speed, the quick over hand right counter and the hard hooks to the body. That Jason Moloney who showed up in June was the one that should have been there in 2018 against Rodriguez.
Everything happens for a reason and the opportunity is even greater now because there are two titles on the line. There is also the possibility of a third title in the near future if victorious.
The key for Jason Moloney is to time that overhand right on Inoue, which is easier said than done. He has to also focus on the body attack in order to slow the champion down. This tactic could lead to Moloney landing something significant in the middle to late rounds.
My Three Cents:
This fight is going to be entertaining while it lasts. I do not believe for one second that this fight will be going to the scorecards. Both men are guys who like to bring the action and I don’t see either one backing down. This is building towards someone getting knocked out.
Will “The Monster” Inoue cause Havoc in the ring on Saturday Night? Will Moloney play Scarecrow sending Inoue back to Japan with his first professional loss? Tune into ESPN+ on Saturday night to see how this one plays out!
Around the Curve Teaser:
Nonito Donaire (40-6) will be going up against Nordine Oubaali (17-0) for the WBC Bantamweight title in December on Showtime. The winner of that gets WBO Champion John Riel Casimero in a unification bout in the first half of 2021? Imagine if we get an undisputed Bantamweight title fight for Halloween Havoc 2021.Wouldn’t that be something? I see that becoming more of a reality than wishful thinking next year. Buckle up and get ready for that ride because it’s going to be an exciting one!