Naoya Inoue vs. Jason Maloney: The Breakdown

Naoya Inoue
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 31: Naoya Inoue reacts after knocking down Jason Moloney during their bantamweight title bout at MGM Grand Conference Center on October 31, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Naoya “The Monster” Inoue countered Jason Maloney‘s jab with a knockout right hand Saturday, Oct. 31st. It was an interesting fight and today we’re going to utilize gifs to better understand how and why it occurred.

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And we can look into how he did it, to understand boxing a little better. Without too much jargon. So that’s what we’ll do here with a smorgasbord of gifs.

Stance stats

When he’s playing safe Naoya Inoue keeps a wide stance, his back foot very far behind his front. This stance lets you stretch your legs out long, helping you burst forward or backward to get in or out of range. This can help the obvious ways like backing away from a punch or coming in with one, and in sneaky ways like backing up so much the other guy walks into a punch – his great jab or fadeaway hook for instance. And feet wide apart naturally means your body is lower, the perfect head-start for jabs to the body.

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Really snazzy.

When he’s focused on the attack he takes a different stance. His right foot gets closer to the opponent as he crouches forward, his weight in his elbows and arms in front. From here he can explode up into an uppercut, a jab, or that left hook he’s famous for.

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The knockout

Bending with your forearms in front blocks straight punches but around the side? Nothing. It’s how Inoue gets hit most often, and Paul Maloney put work in here.

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If you notice none of those clips are from after round four. By that time Inoue landed enough thudding punches to worry Maloney into using only his longest, safest weapon: His jab. For a fighter as smart as Inoue, knowing what punch you’re getting lets you work on countering it. Remember the first gif? King Kong is terrible in the clinch and the knockout punch was a counter to the jab.

To help force the jab Naoya uses a few tricks. Jabs work from far away, so Naoya does two things to keep him away. First, the body jab, which punishes someone coming forward more than someone doing anything else, and second, the fadeaway hook, which also punishes someone coming forward but especially if they’re throwing a right hand. This combination of punches forces Jason Maloney to stay away and use only his left hand. This leaves him a one-handed distance fighter.

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There are two more things. The safest way to throw the jab is to pivot to your left on your front foot with it. That means towards the right side and hand of your opponent. Naoya Inoue wants Maloney to pivot this way so he’s more likely to throw the jab, so he throws wide hooks to punish him for moving the way he’s less likely to throw a jab.

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And the last one is tapping his jabbing hand, or pulling it out towards him. Tapping the gloves has a lot of uses, but when you’ve taken every other option away from someone, tapping the only hand they can use dares them to throw it. Pulling it does the same thing but it’s a bigger dare. For you and I that won’t change our outlook: I’m going to keep my left hand up and hope for miracles. But in a more embarrassing way than you just pictured it. But a professional in the hurt industry, who has a career to think about, and an ego? They might oblige more.

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Inoue tries the counter many times before it ends things. But so long as you can make your own opportunities that’s not a knock, that’s just practice.

Feature Image:
Embed from Getty Images

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