Two years ago this week things got personal when ‘Monster’ Naoya Inoue destroyed Emmanuel Rodriguez in less than two rounds in their WBSS Season II Bantamweight Semi-Final at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow.
In the second round, Inoue dropped Rodriguez on a left hook to the chin, then again on brutal body shots, at which point it looked like the Puerto Rican was about to capitulate. But Rodriguez managed to get up again, only to get dropped a third time. The referee gave him another count, then called it off at 1:19 of the second. Another monstrous performance by the Japanese star.
Juan Carlos Payano was Inoue’s first victim in the tournament as he knocked out the Dominican at 1:10 of the very first round in the Yokohama Arena. So it was not a surprise that things ended quickly in Scotland, but this time it was a personal matter that speeded up the process.
Flashback to fight week: During the pre-fight media events, there was a confrontation during the media workout sessions – which created a lot of tension between Team Inoue and Team Rodriguez.
Shingo Inoue, father, and trainer of Inoue, was using his smartphone to film while Rodriguez was doing his training. Then, Williams Cruz, trainer of Rodriguez, suddenly came over and shoved Shingo Inoue to prevent him from making further videos.
“This is a war and it will end with our hand up. On Saturday people will see that the ‘Monster’ it’s not Inoue, it’s Rodriguez!” – Williams Cruz, trainer of Rodriguez
“I don’t have a problem with the press doing their job,” said Cruz. “But Team Inoue was there watching and filming us training. So I played my part and put myself in front of them to make them stop filming. That’s the way it is.”
“As soon as ‘Manny’ arrived they started to look at him with an attitude to intimidate him. We didn’t come here to play. We came here to make them respect us. This is a war and it will end with our hand up. On Saturday people will see that the ‘Monster’ it’s not Inoue, it’s Rodriguez!”
Inoue’s trainer-father was shocked by the behavior from Team Rodriguez.
“It was an open workout so naturally I was taking pictures and using the phone. A guy came over, after staring down at us from the ring, and said I couldn’t do it and pushed me aside. That was very ungentlemanlike,” said Shingo Inoue after his son’s workout.
“The two fighters who have actually trained for this that’s what we are here to see and who is the better fighter. Outside of the ring, nothing needs to be hostile.
“I don’t think of those petty things and get emotional. It’s between Inoue and Rodriguez and that’s what they are here for. Let them work it out.”
Naoya Inoue was not present when the push happened, but the incident inspired him to do a lot of damage when he entered the ring as he revealed to reporters a few days later on arrival in Japan.
“Truly, this event that happened to my father was an incident that got me angry …” – Naoya Inoue
Over 300 people welcomed the Japanese sensation when he triumphantly touched down at the Haneda International Airport in Tokyo after his explosive victory.
“Truly, this event that happened to my father was an incident that got me angry … because of the behavior of the Puerto Rican trainer with no respect for my father,” Inoue said.
“This is the reason why I decided to jump right into the fight to knock Emmanuel Rodriguez out at all costs, to hit him as hard as ever in a vindictive way.”