More Than Meets The Eye in Inoue-Casimero Fight Sked
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Sun, 26 Jul 2020
Inoue injured his right eye during the Donaire fight.
There is more than meets the eye in the ongoing apparent efforts to salvage the much bruited triple bantamweight championship bout between Naoya Inoue and Johnriel Casimero set in the US.
In fact, literally speaking, Naoya's right eye could still be a continuing cause of concern among his handlers and supporters even today, more than half a year after it was damaged in his last fight versus Nonito Donaire.
That could be the reason why Naoya has been delaying his travel to the US. For truth to tell, given their respective attitude towards the Covid-19 pandemic, it would seem easier for a Japanese to enter the US than an American entering Japan with the latter's stricter protocol.
The official reason of the Inoue camp of course is the delay in the issuance of his travel visa and that they are still hoping that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum can still stage the fight with audience this summer or early fall, September the latest.
However, like everyone else, they may be skeptical that TR can pull it off especially with Arum's recent press statements that the fight can only happen behind closed doors with both Naoya and Johnriel agreeing to pay cuts.
Without mentioning any figures, Arum said Naoya has agreed to a pay cut though Naoya's camp has yet to confirm that and that he is now awaiting the agreement of the Casimero camp for a similar pay cut.
But that is not that easy as it would appear.
MP Promotion's Sean Gibbons has said that they would wait for the arrival of Inoue in the USA for a discussion with Top Rank in his presence before making a final decision on taking pay cut.
Casimero has been in the US since February in preparation for the original April 25 fight date with Inoue and his camp has already incurred huge expenses since then awaiting for Inoue and the rescheduling of the fight.
It is clear that the Casimero camp has done their part of the original agreement being in the fight venue and preparing since February and has been incurring extra costs from cancellation of the April fight date.
All these while Naoya has been taking his sweet time further healing and cooling his heels in Japan. The last time that Naoya was reported to have started sparring was late January yet and since the postponement, nothing has been heard about his preparations.
It would be unfair for Casimero and his camp to agree to a pay cut without Arum taking all of these things into consideration. At the very least, they have to be recompensated for the extra expenses they have been incurring.
But then, Arum even had the nerve to announce that if Casimero does not agree to a pay cut, he has Australian Jason Moloney as fallback foe for Inoue in what he claims to be an "even better matchup".
My haunch is that Naoya could have agreed to a pay cut with the Arum promise of a Moloney fight--- which is an easier fight---anticipating that Casimero will not agree to a pay cut, thus taking the Filipino out of the picture.
For the time being.
You see, Ohashi Promotion, Inoue's handler, has been reported as favoring an interim fight for both Naoya and Johnriel in the US prior to their meeting later this year or early next year preferably in Japan.
One step backward, two steps forward.
Naoya 's handlers could have agreed on him taking a lesser amount most likely against a different and easier opponent in a behind closed door fight for his obligated Top Rank championship debut in the US. But for the chance to have his unification bout versus the dangerous Casimero held in Japan this winter.
Ohashi Promotion said they have a venue that could accommodate at least 10,000 spectators even under a strict medical protocol.
The projected Inoue-Casimero fight held with live spectators could even a a test run for Japan's postponed holding of the Olympics next year.
In the unlikely event of Casimero agreeing to a pay cut, I suspect the Inoue's camp can still contrive of a way to force him out by continuous stalling and delaying as can be gleaned from Naoya's still uncertain date of arrival in the US.
My haunch is that Naoya will eventually defend against Moloney with Casimero forced to take an interim fight possibly in the undercard.
With both winning, thus setting the stage for their meeting in Japan later.
The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at email@example.com and by phone 09215309477.
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