By Chris Robinson
During a recent interview, I spoke with trainer Ronnie Shields to get his take on his talented stable of fighters. Shields works with the likes of former champion Kermit Cintron, junior middleweight contender Erislandy Lara, and undefeated super middleweight prospect Edwin Rodriguez, but it may be Guillermo Rigondeaux who stands alone as his most talented pupil.
A two-time Gold Medalist from Cuba and the current interim WBA junior featherweight champion of the world, Rigondeaux is eyeing a December 31st clash against the WBA’s full champion, Rico Ramos, a bout that looks to be headed to Anaheim, California. Rigondeaux defected from Cuba in early 2009 and has since compiled a 8-0 record with 6 knockouts but at 31 years of age he has little time to waste in his career.
Rigondeaux will be eyeing all the big names near his weight class next year and with bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire likely to be moving up in weight in his next bout, it’s only natural for the dangerous southpaw to size up the Fil-Am star as a possible adversary. Donaire is coming off of a disappointing unanimous decision over Argentina’s Omar Narvaez on October 22nd, a fight that came after ten months of inactivity.
Shields took in the Donaire-Narvaez fight and was quick to put the blame solely on Narvaez, who did more posturing and covering up than actually fighting.
“Well, I think one guy wanted to fight, which was Donaire, and the other guy just wanted to survive,” said Shields. “You can only do so much when you got a guy that’s only trying to survive. He was just trying to go the twelve-round limit and that’s what he did. When you are in that position, the other guy had a lot of experience and he knew how to hold, he knew when to hold and he knew what to do. That’s why I think he went the twelve-round distance.”
Shields admits that Rigondeaux is intrigued by the possibility of a fight with Donaire but insists they must first handle the task at hand.
“You can’t take anything from Donaire, because Donaire’s a very, very good fighter,” Shields would state. “I think Rigo is willing to meet him at 122 pounds because that’s a fight that he wants. He wants to fight the best guys out there. But don’t get me wrong that he also realizes that he has to win this fight first before he can think about a Donaire or anybody else. One fight at a time.”
Shields’ last comment shows just how much confidence he has in his fighter as he highlights the difficulty Rigondeaux could present to Donaire.
“The danger is that Rigondeaux can fight different styles. He knows how to fight all styles. The danger is he’s also a puncher. Although Donaire has fought punchers before, he’s never fought a puncher as strong as Guillermo Rigondeaux. He’s never fought a counter puncher as good as Guillermo Rigondeaux, and he’s never fought a guy with foot movement like Guillermo Rigondeaux. Guillermo is going to bring a lot of problems to him and everybody else because of his boxing ability.”