Tapales wants to slay ‘monster’ no one has yet conquered
Marlon Tapales will be shooting for boxing immortality next week, and he doesn’t merely want to be a game challenger.
He wants to be a monster slayer.
“I want to [battle] Naoya Inoue (for) 12 rounds because I want to enjoy and feel the punch of ‘The Monster’ [who they] say is very strong. If I have a chance to knock him out, of course, I’ll knock him out,” he said in a short video feature released by Top Rank Boxing.
The World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation super bantamweight champion takes on the Japanese champion who goes by the moniker “The Monster” on Dec. 26 at Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan.
“I know what’s in my mind: I wanna go down as the first undisputed Filipino champion,” said Tapales.
Tall odds await Tapales in Koto City, as Inoue has yet to taste defeat and has knocked out about nine of every 10 fighters he has faced.
But all that hardly fazes Tapales, who will have a chance to etch his name into the granite of the sport’s lore as beating Inoue will earn him a milestone that not even the eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao was able to pull off.
“Beating this guy is a big achievement for my career,” said Tapales, a southpaw who could very well lean on his one-punch power and his fascination for awkward angles on the way to victory.
Lead strategist Erel Fontanilla said Tapales has been hard at work for Inoue, preparing for the unbeaten star even before the Japanese battled Stephen Fulton last July.
“We went to Japan and watched him,” Fontanilla said of Inoue in a recent chat with the Inquirer. “He’s the No. 2 pound-for-pound boxer in the world.”
“But as Marlon would tell us in camp, this is for us,” he added.
Tapales also trained in Las Vegas in the United States, and then in Baguio City, to reap the benefits of high-altitude training.
“This is Marlon’s chance to give the Filipinos something to be proud of in boxing. And this is his chance to [solidify] his name,” said Fontanilla.
“We’ll try to win this fight at all costs.”