It promises to be an action-packed card inside the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas this Halloween night, as the head of the bill sees the return of a Japanese Monster.
We last saw Naoya Inoue (19-0, KO16) in November last year, in what was an all-time classic World Boxing Super Series final against Nonito Donaire, who showed he was far from finished.
Inoue returns to the USA for only the second time, as he defends his WBA (Super) and IBF Bantamweight belts against Australia’s hungry former World Title challenger, Jason Moloney (21-1, KO18).
Naoya is currently riding high in the mythical pound-for-pound lists, and for good reason, as the Yokohama based ‘Monster’ is already a three-weight World Champion, and eager for more accolades.
Inoue first became World Champion in only his sixth fight in April 2014, stopping Adrian Hernandez in six rounds.
After one defence, he jumped two weight classes to stun WBO Super Flyweight champion, Omar Narvaez, knocking the usually tough champion in two rounds.
Inoue made seven defences of that belt before another move upwards.
The man from Japan then faced Jamie McDonnell and relieved the Yorkshireman of his WBA Bantamweight title in under two minutes in May 2018.
This was the last stop before an entry into the World Boxing Super Series, and Inoue began his campaign in devastating fashion, knocking out Juan Carlos Payano in 70 seconds to make the boxing world sit up and take notice.
His semi final opponent was Emmanuel Rodriguez, with the Puerto Rican’s IBF belt on offer in Glasgow, and again there was no match as Inoue scored a chilling second round knockout win.
A routine win against Donaire was expected in the final, but Inoue had to pass several gut checks before defeating the game Nonito Donaire in a thriller.
Inoue now defends his belts after his Muhammad Ali Trophy win, and New South Wales based Moloney won’t be coming to Las Vegas to roll over.
The 29-year-old Aussie has only tasted defeat once against, a common opponent in, Emmanuel Rodriguez in October 2018.
Moloney entered the World Boxing Super Series as an underdog, but pushed Rodriguez all the way in a superb fight that went the Puerto Rican’s way via split decision.
Since that reverse, Moloney is on a four-fight winning streak, with his first three coming back home in Australia against limited opposition in Cris Paulinho (TKO5), Goodluck Mrema (KO3) and Dixon Flores (KO2).
One half of the Moloney twins, Jason, was last seen in June inside the MGM Grand Bubble, as he disposed of Leonardo Baez via corner retirement in seven.
Prediction: Inoue is something special, but it’ll be interesting to see what the gruelling fight with Donaire has taken out of him, if anything.
I expect him to start fast, and he could even score an early knockdown as Moloney adjusts to his rapid hand speed.
I think Moloney will be rugged and attempt to make the fight uncomfortable for the Japanese, but I see Inoue being able to score a late stoppage here.
Mikaela Mayer (13-0, KO5) gets the chance to back up what has seemed like months of trash talking, as she challenges for world honours for the first time.
The vocal Mayer has been calling out WBC and IBO champion, Terri Harper, for some time, but she attempts to take the WBO Super Featherweight title from, Matchroom promoted, Eva Brodnicka (19-0, KO2) with the Pole making a sixth defence of her belt.
Colorado Springs-based Meyer was a standout amateur, and competed at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, as well as winning bronze at the 2012 World Championships.
It’s been pretty low key stuff for her as a professional, with this contest her first significant step up in class.
Meyer last fought in mid July, and won every round on two cards in a ten round rout over the rugged Helen Joseph, who had taken Delfine Persoon ten rounds at the back end of 2019.
Eddie Hearn has invested in Brodnicka in what he originally hoped would be a future Terri Harper unification fight, but instead the Warsaw resident makes her first venture outside of Poland to defend her title.
The 36-year-old won the interim WBO crown in May 2017, and was upgraded to full champion before a first defence against Sarah Pucek in April 2018, a contest that she won on the cards.
She has been involved in some tight affairs in her last few fights, with Janeth Perez dropping a majority verdict to Brodnicka in May 2019, and Edith Matthysse losing a tight split decision five months later. ‘Kleo’ Brodnicka’s last outing came in March, in a much more routine wide points win against Djemilla Gontaruk.
Prediction: Meyer is fresh and eager to back up her promise, by making a statement here against the champion Brodnicka.
The Pole has been used to home comforts and scoring previously, and I can’t see her pulling off an upset here.
Meyer should be able to pick her foe off on the way to a wide decision win.
The preliminaries feature several Top Rank prospects. Brazilian 2016 Olympic Gold Medallist, Robson Conceicao (14-0, KO7), takes on Luis Coria (12-3, KO7) at Super Featherweight.
Jared ‘The Real Big Baby’ Anderson (6-0, KO6) makes his fifth appearance of 2020, and the Heavyweight hope meets Luis Eduardo Pena (6-1, KO6) last seen being stopped by Michael Coffie in August.
At Super Lightweight, Andy Hiraoka (15-0, KO10) faces Rickey Edwards (12-4, KO3) and at Super Featherweight, Andres Cortes (13-0, KO7) and George Acosta (10-1, KO1) clash.
There are also appearances for Julian ‘Hammer Hands’ Rodriguez (20-0, KO13) and Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez (12-0, KO8).