The Big Question: Inoue vs Rodriguez / Taylor vs Baranchyk - who wins?

Boxing Monthly
17/05/2019 9:45pm

Photo: WBSS

IMG 2227Glasgow hosts a World Boxing Super Series semi-final double header on Saturday night, as Josh Taylor and Ivan Baranchyk square off at super lightweight and Naoya Inoue and Emmanuel Rodriguez clash at bantamweight. Members of the BM team are here with their picks and predictions…

I’m a massive fan of Rodriguez and he’s probably the best guy Inoue will have faced so far but I can’t see him winning this. As talented a fighter as he is and quality to watch, 'The Monster' has that something special. His elite body work will be key early on and I think he’ll eventually get to Rodriguez late. Inoue by ninth-round TKO. As for Taylor vs Baranchyk, this is a really interesting fight and one that looked unlikely to be happening at one point. Taylor finally has his chance to become world champion and on his own patch too, a dream scenario. I expect him to grab that chance with another top performance but in a good, hard IMG 2228fight. Taylor by unanimous decision. - Lee Gormley

Rodriguez has a great back story, is a respected champion who is undefeated and cannot be taken lightly in any way, shape or form. However, Inoue is something special and anyone who bet against him winning the entire tournament must have had money to burn. The obvious choice is Inoue on a very clear points decision to mark his arrival as a proper three-weight world champion (sorry, WBA 'regular'/'super' title nonsense annoys me), but I think he may just end things later on, say around the tenth. Assuming Baranchyk goes through with the contest, it is hardly a walkover for Taylor or a foregone conclusion. I think the home advantage could see the talented Taylor through a couple of rocky moments, on his way to a tight-yet-clear points win, in a fight which will both propel him to a new status while taking him into unchartered waters: he'll have to dig deep, but I think it's a challenge he'll relish. - Colin Harris

Impossible to look past Inoue even against the well-credentialled Rodriguez. I expect the Puerto Rican to be cagey enough and tough enough to last some rounds before succumbing to the relentless power and attacking prowess of 'The Monster' around the eighth. Baranchyk is going to have his work cut out for him in an away game against Taylor, but I've got a gut feeling he has the toughness and tenacity to get the job done. Heart over head pick here, but I'll stick with Baranchyk. - Anthony Cocks

I like Inoue and Taylor to win Saturday in Glasgow, but they're both in for the toughest fight of their young careers. - Michael Montero

After all the uncertainty of the past few months, it’s somewhat of a relief that Baranchyk will be in the ring in Glasgow on Saturday night. I think he’s going to give Taylor as stern an examination as Postol did and, at least on any sensible scorecard, that fight went down to the wire. Taylor has a few more strings to his bow, though, and I expect him to weather a storm - and possibly a knockdown along the way - en route to a close decision. Inoue is simultaneously both the most gifted and on-form fighter left in all three of the WBSS tournaments. You can add any number of superlatives to that, too. Rodriguez could well be his toughest test to date, and I think it unlikely that Inoue will add another early-round blitz to his record. I don’t see any other route to victory for the Puerto Rican other than trying to nullify Inoue from range, and he’s good enough to make that work for at least a stretch of the fight. I don’t think it’ll be enough. Inoue by unanimous decision. - Tom Craze

Rodriguez has proved himself to be a robust, awkward fighter with a style that makes it hard to find regular, repeated success against. That being said he hasn’t fought anywhere near the quality of Inoue. The Japanese is a different animal altogether and can make the most experienced of fighters look like complete novices. He showed against Juan Carlos Payano that he can produce a devastating finish from the most innocuous of openings. Rodriguez should make it further than either of Inoue’s last two opponents, but I’d put money on an Inoue stoppage around the seventh round. Baranchyk reminds me of his Belarussian countryman Kiryl Relikh in terms of his persistence and I don’t this fight is as clearcut as some would have you think. We’ve seen Taylor battle through rough patches before and I think we’ll see some more uncomfortable moments in this particular contest. All told, I expect Taylor to emerge a comfortable winner, on points, but in a closer-than-expected contest with Baranchyk proving to be a stubborn adversary. Wouldn’t be surprised if the scorecards fail to reflect his valiance, mind. - Oliver McManus

Rodriguez is a very good world champion and his performance against Paul Butler was excellent but Jason Moloney, who I rate as a fighter by the way, gave him a decent fight and the Puerto Rican's stamina in the last few rounds was slightly concerning. Unfortunately for Rodriguez a good defence won't be enough to beat the Japanese sensation as Omar Narvaez found and I predict that Inoue will prevail by stoppage in rounds 5 or 6. As for Taylor vs Baranchyk, as exciting and fan friendly a fighter Baranchyk is he leaves himself very open, giving plenty of opportunities for Taylor to counter. If Taylor doesn't let the occasion get to him I think he'll pick Baranchyk apart with spiteful counters with the uppercut being a really wise option and eventually the accumulation will result in a 9th or 10th round stoppage for the Scotsman. With all the uncertainty surrounding his participation it will be interesting to see if that has any effect on Baranchyk. – Marcus Bellinger

Final tally: Inoue 7 Rodriguez 0; Taylor 6 Baranchyk 1