Naoya Inoue compared to Manny Pacquiao ahead of Michael Dasmarinas title fight

Manny Pacquiao poses for a photo with Naoya Inoue in Tokyo

Naoya Inoue has been compared to Manny Pacquiao by Bob Arum ahead of his fight with Michael Dasmarinas on Saturday night. 

Japan's Inoue (20-0, 17 KOs), who holds three of the four major bantamweight world titles, and Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20 KOs), of Philippines, will meet on June 19 at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas.  

The 28-year-old Japanese superstar has developed a fearsome reputation as a knockout artist since he made his professional debut almost nine years ago, and all but three of his 20 wins have come by way of knockout. 

And now, according to Arum, Inoue has already surpassed the level Pacquiao was at when he first arrived in the United States in 2001.  

“No question. No question about that at all,” Arum said to Yahoo Sports. “Manny obviously developed working with Freddie [Roach] into one of the greatest champions ever.

"I don’t know if Naoya is going to get there, because how many do that, but he has incredible talent and it’s not even a question to say he’s ahead of where Manny was.”

“He’s to me one of the brightest stars there is because he boxes beautifully and he has that devastating power to knock somebody out like that."

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Inoue, 28, who retained his unified titles by knocking out Jason Moloney in October, is due for his second fight since claiming the WBA bantamweight title against Nonito Donaire in the final of the World Boxing Super Series in November 2019. 

Dasmarinas, 28, has won two fights in a row since drawing with relative unknown Manyo Plange at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore in September 2019. 

Inoue said that he is looking forward to entertaining the crowd with another highlight-reel knockout.

“I haven’t fought in front of a crowd since the Nonito Donaire fight, so I am excited about that and excited to put on a show," Inoue said.  

Naoya Inoue

“You think of the greatest punchers and a guy like Earnie Shavers, he wanted to hurt you,” said Bruce Trampler of Top Rank, Arum's matchmaker. “They have that puncher’s mentality.

"[Mike] Tyson had it; he wanted to hurt you. Inoue wants to hurt you.

"He wants to rip you up downstairs and then when your hands come down and your chin is exposed, he goes upstairs.

"He gets it. It’s not something that I think can be taught.

"I wouldn’t say he’s a natural body puncher, because nobody is, but he’s an instinctive body puncher.

"That’s what makes him so good and you don’t see that much anymore.”

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