"There are two different types of pain: one that hurts and one that alters." – an old Eastern proverb.
Traveling to Tokyo on Saturday night to nominally contest an undisputed bantamweight fight – wherein he contributes the WBO title, against the IBF, WBA and WBC titles of the 23-and-0, with 20 KOs, champion Naoya Inoue – one can be forgiven for thinking that the 34-year-old ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ will definitely get hurt. The first type of pain is inevitable – will misguided conceptions of bravery lead him inexorably to the second?
No, this should not be about boxing for Butler, rather survival. He cannot be criticised for taking the contest, given that boxing is always about money, and ‘Inoue away’ is the best-paid of his fighting options. But let us not dissolve into delusion and give any outlet to the consideration that he may win. Unless of course, one considers victory to be Butler leaving the arena with his head still emplaced upon his neck and the ringside oxygen supply reboxed, unnecessary and unused.
I’d go further actually, were I Butler. I’d take my own earning potential for this fight to the upmost extreme. I’d do away with all trainers and all those on a percentage cut. After all, what sort of plan can Gallagher really give me… ‘Keep your hands up and try not to die, Paul!’ Jesus! – even a super-hybrid trainer of Cus, Manny, Micky Goldmill, Turkish, Tommy and Ben Davison couldn’t conspire a blueprint that would have me hearing the words ‘…and the winner, from Chester, Englaaaaand!’
No thank you. I’d hire a personal, everyman trainer, perhaps one who charged no fee and who was doing it merely for contacts and exposure. It would be his responsibility, and his alone, to ensure that I am nourished and exercised sufficiently to meet the obligated legal fighting weight.
Pad-wise – to tick me over – there is an image, forever freezing in time the reality that Scott Quigg’s mum used to hold the focus pads for her teenage son, as he enthusiastically pummelled away backdropped by a row of red-bricked terraced houses. I’d do the same, if Butler: recruit a complaint, pad-holding family member, or even a homeless person keen for the price of a cup of tea. Like Butler, Quigg became a world champion, so perhaps the old ‘mummy-on-the-pads’ routine is one detrimentally underused by the subculture, and one ripe for marginal-gain potential.
In the ring, I’d run. Who cares if it’s boring? Just get on your toes for 36 minutes and leave clutching a briefcase full of currency that’s now appreciated in value against the pound. Maybe even move out of Chester.
Instead, what will likely happen is that Gallagher will be there. He’ll be talking about the size of the task, how camp has gone well, how he and Paul have noticed weaknesses in Inoue which they ‘know’ they’ll exploit, and how Callum Smith will likely be ‘out again’ in the new year…
They probably will go for it and Butler’s head will likely land on the fourth row. He should at least take the homeless chap. Why not let someone enjoy a positive Christmas experience in Japan, after all?
Naoya Inoue (23-0, 20 KOs)
Nonito Donaire - WIN - TKO Round 2
Aran Dipaen - WIN - TKO Round 8
Michael Dasmarinas - WIN - KO Round 3
Jason Moloney - WIN - KO Round 7
Nonito Donaire - WIN - UD points (116-111, 114-113, 117-109)
Paul Butler (34-2, 15 KOs)
Jonas Sultan - WIN - UD points ()
Willibaldo Perez - WIN - SD points ()
Ryan Walker - WIN - Points
Jose Aguilar - WIN - Points
Joseafat Reyes - WIN - Points
Date: December 13th 2022
Time: Approx. 12.30PM (GMT)
Venue: Ariake Arena, Koto-Ku, Tokyo, Japan
Promotor: Hideyuki Ohashi (Ohashi Promotions
Elsewhere on the card Yoshiki Takei defends his Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation super bantamweight title against Bruno Tarimo. Andy Hiraoka fights Min Ho Jung for the WBO Asia Pacific super lightweight title; and Satoshi Shimizu takes on Landy Cris Leon for the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation featherweight title.