Tete carries hopes of African continent
Perhaps before one is unnecessarily paralysed by fear it is important to first understand if those fears are justified.
In many cases, the things people fear the most surprisingly turn out to be a myth.
These only exist in the minds and imaginations of the faint of heart.
The past week saw the entire South African boxing community being swept away by an immense wave of fear courtesy of Japanese Naoya Inoue’s 70-seconds destruction of Juan Carlos Payano in the quarterfinals of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS).
Now everytime at the mere mention of Inoue, the attention shifts to his counterpart in the WBSS, Zolani Tete.
Looking at the debates surrounding their possible fight, it is obvious that the overwhelming majority of fans do not give Tete a chance against the “Monster".
But before predictions can be made, both boxers’ styles need to be assessed in detail, so as to gauge whether these fears are justified.
In the Payano fight, it was obvious that Inoue knew how to fight and beat a southpaw. The moment the bell rang, he moved towards Payano's right-hand jab.
And, when Payano tried to force the action, Inoue missed him with a sneaky right uppercut. As Payano lunged, Inoue landed the quick straight right that ended the fight. This only happened when Payano allowed him to get close.
And when he landed the straight right, Inoue was exactly where he was supposed to be against a southpaw.
With Payano being close up, the right hand of Inoue, which is a signature punch to beat a southpaw, easily landed.
Other than that, throughout the entire 70 seconds, Inoue was clever not to commit, but lured Payano towards him instead, so he could get closer to the action and throw some bombs of his own.
Payano’s concentration lapsed and he paid dearly. The fight was brief but it left a trail of clues for analysis.
If ever there would be a time where Tete needed to use a defence-minded approach, it would be in this fight.
This would be one fight where Zolani would have to be as “boring” as he possibly could and top that with a great amount of patience. One of Tete’s greatest attributes is his alertness and presence of mind.
He is very alert and knows very well how to pick his punches.
Should he manage to keep Inoue at bay, the shorter Inoue would have no choice but to bring the fight to Tete and that is where Tete could catch him as he lunges in. Think Paul Butler.
Knowing Tete, and his watertight defence he would never be caught in a situation where he would have to be involved in an exchange with Inoue, because he is very much aware of the “Monster’s” deadly power and would surely not want to test his chin against Inoue and that sneaky right uppercut Inoue threw as Payano was coming in.
In a fight with Inoue, Tete should never try to be the aggressor, otherwise that would spell disaster for him.
As quick as Inoue could be against a clever, taller and accurate Tete he would have no choice but to come forward and fight. The winning trick for Tete would be to know exactly what to do when Inoue tries to close the gap.
That is how the fight could be won. Fortunately, Tete has fought all over the world in front of different types of crowds so there would be no fear of stage-fright.
He would not be intimidated in any way.
Having had the opportunity to watch Inoue's previous fights as well a many others who are well aware of Tete’s truest capabilities, the “Monster” is a myth, that only exists in the imaginations of those who fear it.
Zolani can surely tame the beast that
Inoue is purported to be.