Cult of Rigondeaux…Rise!: The Post-Fight Report Card

by Cliff Rold

Maybe Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes were fortunate that Teofilo Stevenson stayed in Ciba after all.

Joel Casamayor has, in this generation, been the strongest argument that the best of the long-dominant Cuban amateur program had the potential to find wild professional success.  Casamayor never quite had a win like Guillermo Rigondeaux did last Saturday.

Make no mistake: that was a complete undressing of one of the most accomplished fighters of the last six years.  Those who wondered if Rigondeaux, at 11-0, was taking too big a step up in competition saw that thinking turned on its ear.

It turned out the step up was Donaire’s.

Let’s go to the report cards.


Pre-Fight: Speed – Donaire A; Rigondeaux A/Post: A; A+
Pre-Fight: Power – Donaire A; Rigondeaux B+/Post: A; A
Pre-Fight: Defense – Donaire B+; Rigondeaux B+/Post: B; A
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Donaire A; Rigondeaux B/Post: B; A

There have been some catcalls about a boring fight over the weekend.  This corner of the universe disagrees.  There was a dry section of the fight, specifically rounds 5-9.  They were outweighed by an incredibly intense first four rounds and an even more intense final nine minutes.

And, let’s be clear, the reason the fight was dry in the middle was not Rigondeaux.

Donaire’s approach, and inability to adapt to the man in front of him, sucked the life out of the fight. 

Rigondeaux befuddled Donaire early, even rocking him solidly at one point.  He made Donaire wary.  Rigondeaux wasn’t holding early on when they were close.  He was outfighting him.  When he realized Donaire was already resorting to looking for miracle bombs, he used the ring and Donaire let him.  He wasn’t running any more than Donaire was using a jab or attempting combinations. 

Donaire eventually did land one of those big bombs.  Rigondeaux responded by dishing an absolute shelling from then out. 

That’s what made the fight so entertaining from this seat.  There is something about seeing a talent exceed expectations and come into its own.  Rigondeaux had built a solid cult following but there was still reason to be skeptical about the obvious pedigree and talent.  Boxing is a rough sport.  It’s hard to know until proof is seen.

Rigondeaux showed he could beat Donaire not just by moving and pot shotting but also in the trenches.  He came off the floor in the tenth, shook it off, and won the rest of the round fairly decisively.  Knockdowns count as lost rounds almost automatically, but if one wanted argue Rigondeaux battled to even in the frame there would be a case. 

As an aside, Rigondeaux took more than enough hard shots in the early rounds along with the recovery in the tenth to show that he’s got the chin an elite talent needs.  It was the biggest question mark about him.

Then Rigondeaux closed the show, winning the eleventh and nearly closing the eye of Donaire in the final round to add the WBO and lineal World 122 lb. titles to his WBA strap.

There will be those who discredit Donaire for losing to a guy who only had eleven pro fights.  It’s an unfair assessment.  It doesn’t matter how many fights he had going in.  Rigondeaux proved that he belonged. 


Frankie Genaro is one of the great Flyweights of all-time.  So is Fidel LaBarba.  When they squared off in a big fight in 1925, Genaro already had almost fifty fights.  LaBarba had ten.  LaBarba won.  He was already that good.

Rigondeaux is just already that good.

Donaire is still really damn good too.  There are few fighters below 130 lbs. right now he wouldn’t be favored strongly over despite losing what, to these eyes, was a 10-2 decision on rounds.  He might be able to make a go of a Rigondeaux rematch eventually.

Time will tell.

For now, the focus is where it should be and the Cult of Rigo can officially begin aggressive expansion.  They have a hell of a testimonial to fall back on.

At 32, Rigondeaux may not get to have to sort of extended career we ask for from a great fighter.  He’ll have to compact a lot into what time he has unless he turns out to be some Hopkins-like freak of nature. 

In that sense, what we might have here is the boxing equivalent of Roy Hobbs.  Hobbs, the hero of Barry Levinson’s “The Natural” (we’ll ignore the Bernard Malamud book with a less than heroic ending), had the talent to be better than Babe Ruth.  Instead of a serial killing crazy dame shooting him in the gut, Rigondeaux lost his possible professional youth to the restrictions of Communist Cuba. 

Hobbs had one season with the fictional New York Knights to let the world know what might have been.

The season of Rigondeaux truly began on a New York night he made his own.             

Report Card Picks 2013: 8-11

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by crold1 on 04-21-2013

[QUOTE=vacon04;13266066]Now this is a good post fight card ... I remember the pre fight card and to be honest the grades boxingscene gave to Rigo were ridiculous.[/QUOTE] It was me both times. It's why I do both. :)

Comment by vacon04 on 04-19-2013

Now this is a good post fight card ... I remember the pre fight card and to be honest the grades boxingscene gave to Rigo were ridiculous.

Comment by BendOver on 04-17-2013

[QUOTE=Rolaz;13258084]I KNOCKDOWN = 1 PUNCH; That's 2 pts advantage in Judges score card, if you scored a knockdown; it wasn't a cheap shot, as Ref. & Floyd jr., used to say "Always protect yourself at all times!"[/QUOTE]Are you talking about…

Comment by crold1 on 04-17-2013

[QUOTE=Phenom;13258293]Green K sent[/QUOTE] Why thank you

Comment by Nekronicle on 04-17-2013


Post a Comment - View More User Comments (63)
Top Headlines Steven Butler Crushes Trotter in One, Maduma is Upset Photos: Manny Pacquiao Mobbed as He Arrives in Los Angeles Kevin Lerena Edges Micki Nielsen: Budler, Van Heerden Win Mikey Garcia Aims To Make a Statement With Dejan Zlaticanin Vazquez: I Took 'Worst Deal of My Career' To Get Juanma in There Marquez: I Beat Pacquiao Four Times, No Reason For Fifth Time! Jamie Cox Outpoints Rios in Foul-Fest, Wins WBO Regional Belt Sam Eggington Drops, Batters Frankie Gavin for Knockout in Eight Craig Cunningham Drops, Shocks Anthony Ogogo For TKO Win Kal Yafai Wins, Faces Luis Concepcion on 12/10 in Manchester Sean Davis Edges Paul Economides For WBC Regional Title Hisashi Amagasa Wins Ten Round Decision Over Carlo Demecilo David Price: I Can Knock Joshua Out, Dropped Him Bad in Sparring Lemieux's Manager Confident Canelo Fight Can Be Made For May Luis Nery Looks To Take His Career To Next Level in Tijuana Hekkie Budler Aims To Bounce Back at Kempton Park Josh Taylor Continues To Rise By Drilling Dave Ryan in Edinburgh Magdaleno on Track To Make 122-Pounds For Donaire Title Shot Hassan N'Dam Aims To Revamp Career, Hires Pedro Diaz Shane Mosley: I'm Semi-Retired - But For Right Opponent I'll Fight! For Better or Worse, Heavyweight Glory Still Runs Through Klitschko Golovkin's Coach: Mayweather Deserves Catch-Weight, NOT Canelo! Frank Warren: Klitschko Does NOT Deserve Shot at WBA Title! What To Do With Tyson Fury? - BoxingScene Ratings Update Arum Explains Manny Pacquiao's Lack of Knockouts Since 2009 McGuigan: Frampton Will Make an Impact in Vegas With Santa Cruz Golovkin Warns Saunders: I Want Your Belt, That is My Goal! Joe Hanks, Denis Douglin Return To Action on November 5 Manny Pacquiao Gets in One Last Workout Before Leaving To LA Hearn: I 100% Want Anthony Joshua vs. David Haye in 2017 Parker vs. Ruiz: Duco Looking For Goverment Funding For Event Jean Pascal Not Yet Ready For Ring Return, Says Trainer Photo: Victor Terrazas, Eduardo Hernandez on Weight For War Vargas: It's My Time, After I Beat Pacquiao - A Star Will Be Born! Erislandy Lara Still Has a Target on The Back of Gennady Golovkin Photos: Luis Nery, Richie Mepranum Set For War in Tijuana Joselito Velasquez, Mexican Olympian, To Be Trained By Robles Wladimir Klitschko, Lucas Browne Far Apart On Money For 12/10 Photos: Canelo is Officially Belted in Puerto Rico By The WBO Cotto Says Canelo Rematch is a Subject For Discussion

Latest Active Forum Threads