Despite bravado, Tapales faces ‘monster’ odds vs Inoue | Inquirer Sports

Despite bravado, Tapales faces ‘monster’ odds vs Inoue

/ 05:10 AM December 26, 2023

Naoya Inoue (left) is a massive favorite against Filipino MarlonTapales in their title bout on Tuesday in Tokyo.

Naoya Inoue (left) is a massive favorite against Filipino Marlon Tapales in their title bout on Tuesday in Tokyo. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/WENDELL ALINEA

All the prefight statements crafted to create a semblance of dauntlessness have had little effect on the odds Marlon Tapales has to overcome on Tuesday.

“You should be worried about the one that follows you to sleep,” the boxer known as “The Nightmare” told the Inquirer a week ago during a media workout.


Experts and oddsmakers weren’t impressed.


Prefight predictions see Naoya Inoue, the undefeated Japanese superstar looking to unify the belts at a second weight class, winning their super bantamweight showdown at Ariake Arena in Tokyo. Handily.

In fact, the question isn’t if the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) titleholder will win; it’s whether Tapales, the International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association king, can drag the fight into the final bell.The answer, almost unanimously, is no, with experts picking the Filipino to go down from the sixth to the eighth rounds.

Tapales is also a +800 underdog in betting. That means the house is offering you a chance to win P800 for a P100 bet. They are sure they’ll be taking your money anyway.

But neither experts nor oddsmakers will be on the right facing “The Monster” Inoue—only Tapales.

Calm confidence

And since April, the Filipino champion has exuded a calm confidence that he has what it takes to make Inoue dream of this fight—badly—for years to come. “Don’t sleep on me,” he told the Inquirer in April, playing off his moniker.

Both fighters had no problem on the scales on Monday, both making the 122-pound limit for the 12-round championship bout.


Tapales weighed in at 121.2. Inoue came in at 121.6.

If Tapales wins, he will be the first undisputed Filipino champion, a feat that eluded even the great Manny Pacquiao. If Inoue proves experts and oddsmakers right, he will clean up a second weight class in a year. In December 2022, Inoue stopped Paul Butler to go undisputed at bantamweight.

He claimed the WBC and WBO super bantamweight belts after one of the finest performances in the sport—an eighth-round stoppage of Stephen Fulton, the Japanese pug’s first match at 122 pounds.

Inoue has been on a tear in title bouts. He hasn’t fought a nontitle match since 2014.

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Tapales (37-3, 19 KOs) is coming off a win over Murodjon Akhmadaliev in San Antonio, Texas, earlier this year.

TAGS: MARLON Tapales, Naoya Inoue

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