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Canelo and Inoue breathe fist

“THE GAME is dying, man. There are no good fighters left, and the best are the best fighters, just like in the old days. ” Give yourself a pound every time you hear those lines.

Obviously, boxing doesn't do big fights anymore. Everyone is busy with pots and pans in the kitchen (avoid mentioning pots and pans like Canelo vs. Oscar said in last week's press conference – if you know, you know).

Flashback to July 2023. Remember when Inoue fought Fulton, and Crawford fought Spence in the same week? Refusing to be happy about putting the whole team together (bantamweight), Inoue stepped up and challenged the two-time undefeated champion with natural talent.

Stephen Fulton holds the WBC and WBO super-bantamweight titles. Philadelphia went head first into the trenches against Brandon Figueroa and came out the other end. He was at his best, fueled by the momentum of the winners when the two met at the hot Ariake Arena in the summer.

Sounds too close to good versus too good, doesn't it? As for Crawford and Spence, the uncontested welterweight clash spoke for itself. All four titles, each fighter at the end of a path that led to one inevitable end. There is nowhere to go. There is nowhere else to turn. Foreign dramas, advertising politics, it had it all.

Crawford crushed Spence, crowning him the reigning champion, just days after Inoue beat Fulton. Months later, Inoue would add another weight class by defeating Marlon Tapales.

On May 4, 2024, Cinco de Mayo weekend, Canelo began the latest round of pound-for-pound midday fights.

The 168-pound ruler came down and pointed at fellow Mexican Jaime Munguia, who is undefeated. Although it wasn't Crawford-Spence levels, an unassailable position remained on the line, and an enthusiastic nationalist crowd was on the field to testify. The whole event felt special.

Two days later, Inoue fought Luis Nery. Munguia could be Benavidez, granted. Inoue could have made his debut at 126 pounds against the world champion, if it was allowed. But still….

ET-Mobile Arena, Canelo's vast experience in big fights was the difference. Been there, done that and created a t-shirt and sold an entire line in Las Vegas through unscrupulous sellers. This is his domain and Munguia, who could be Mexico's next star, took a deep breath before stepping forward and mustering up the courage to enter.

Despite the embarrassment and fake post-fight productions, Canelo played down his status with true humility, refusing to call himself the greatest Mexican boxer of all time.

Unfortunately, he also undermined the credentials and legitimacy of David Benavidez, the man he should be fighting. All the things Canelo said when he was preparing to endorse Mnguia (young, hungry, undefeated, got his chance) were retracted and used as excuses. not to please Benavidez.

Over time, he's given a few different clues as to why the Benavidez fight seems unlikely. Pinning it down solely on money is a risky game to play, given the sudden influx of money into the fighting game. So-called unattainable financial figures can suddenly be written in the checkbook – and it's sink or swim time.

Against Munguia, Canelo's engine took a little time to warm up. The reaction seemed to be that the touch was slow, the output of the punch, although he was the highest since Golovkin in the second half, he was not as shy as some of his contemporaries.

That was a problem against Dmitry Bivol, and it can be a problem for someone like Benavidez, who likes to throw hard and generally, take whatever comes his way and move on.

That's what makes the combat so engaging while also being annoyingly inaccessible. Yes, Canelo gave us the Erislandy Lara fight when it was suggested he would take it out. Yes, he fought Miguel Cotto. Yes, he fought Golovkin three times.

Floyd Mayweather? A free hit then. It is valuable in the long run. It taught him everything he needs to know about winning big fights on the biggest stage, against the likes of Jaime Munguia. But for now Benavidez. A fitting end to a career we all want to see.

Meanwhile, Naoya Inoue's career is far from over. Right now, there is no “must see” opponent waiting in the wings. No disrespect to Sam Goodman, who entered the ring nervously to face “The Beast” on Monday, but Father Time, heavy weight classes and complacency are bigger threats right now than any one word. Inoue nodded for a moment, shook his hand and silently indicated that Sam needed to leave the stage.

Inoue (L) shoots Nery (R)
(Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)

It was a luxury that helped write the story of Inoue's beating in Tokyo by Luis Nery, which ended in the sixth round. In the first round, Inoue was knocked down for the first time in his career.

Although he's not really hurt, the stylist seems unmoved enough to take a few seconds to count and dance the rest of the circuit.

Nery has always been good at boxing. He is a pantomime villain who even raised the infamous Japanese mob. This was the same kind of crowd that sat quietly as James 'Buster' Douglas pulled off the biggest upset in sports ever, on Mike Tyson, at the same venue 34 years ago.

Nery's beating was handed down on behalf of a nation still on fire due to the ongoing treatment of Shinsuke Yamanaka back in 2017/2018. And Inoue did not forget.

Perhaps an overly comfortable fight at home, he got up, walked Nery reeling in his left hook in the second round, and the usual, violent business resumed until the dramatic finish.

It was the perfect end to a few full days. Enough time to regroup, take a minute and prepare a little story of Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk.

A fight to determine the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Then, it was supposed to be Artur Beterbiev against Dmitry Bivol, before Beterbiev's tight frame cracked under the strain and Bivol was briefly left without a dance partner.

The rest is a five-on-five undercard, topped by Wilder vs. Zhang. A few weeks before Vergil Ortiz Jr. fought Tim Tszyu and weeks after Devin Haney fought Ryan Garcia, a fight in which the underdog, who seemed to be melting down due to a mental breakdown, only went and let out an upset.

Of course, there was the devastating damage of a failed drug test left behind that tarnished the victory. However, at that time, as it happened, there was a kind of magic that only created boxing.

Canelo's push and shove before the fight with Oscar De La Hoya and Inoue's clash were reminders that boxing is a game of emotions and moments. We expect to see one thing and suddenly we are delivered with a live action curve ball, it shatters everything you believed before, leaving lasting moments to be entertained.

It was suggested that Inoue would be too fast for Nery from the opening bell. His hands, head movement, footwork and punching ability are all top notch. Two minutes in, he is getting up angrily from the canvas. This cannot happen. This should not have happened. This you have it happened.

What's App groups shine as the action unfolds in real time. To say, “I was there,” live in person or at home. He saw it unfold, and he will still remember it years later.

A breathless weekend, before a few breathless weeks. Imagine what boxing will be like when it gets better again.

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