By Chris Robinson
The past few days I have focused much of my coverage towards Nonito Donaire and his recently setup camp in Las Vegas. Donaire vies for the vacant WBO junior featherweight championship against former champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. on February 4th in Houston, Texas and it could kick-start a potentially huge 2012 for him.
But while Donaire, who is moving up from the bantamweight division for this contest, has garnered a lot of well-deserved buzz in recent years, there is a subdued character at 122 pounds who may prove to be his stiffest test to date despite not having as much star appeal as guys like Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa.
Guillermo Rigondeaux, the interim WBA junior featherweight champion, is presently working in Hollywood, Florida as he gears up for a clash with the WBA’s ‘regular’ champion Rico Ramos, a fight that very well now may be headed to the Palms Casino in Las Vegas on January 20th after several setbacks.
A standout amateur from Cuba who won a pair of gold medals, there is no denying the raw talent that Rigondeaux possesses. And if you ask certain members from the 31-year old’s camp, they will be quick to tell you that it is Rigondeaux, not Donaire, who is the man to beat at 122 pounds.
James ‘DJ’ Montanocordoba is a conditioning based out of Atlanta, Georgia who has worked with the likes of Joel Casamayor, Nate Campbell, Juan Guzman, Sechew Powell, Lamont Peterson, Fernando Guerrero, and most recently with Rigondeaux. Montanocordoba recently took time from his schedule to not only praise his fighter’s abilities but also to claim adamantly that Donaire will likely be guided away from a Rigondeaux clash by his inner circle come 2012.
Montanocordoba is outspoken with his ways and he also made a point to nitpick Donaire’s October 22nd twelve-round decision over Omar Narvaez while also stating his belief that he is not a true threat to Rigondeaux.
This is what Montanocordoba had to share…
How he linked up with Guillermo Rigondeaux…
“I’m very recognized with the Cubans because of my history with Joel Casamayor. The Cuban people know about me because of my history with the Cuban fighters. I worked with [Casamayor] for a long period of time. It was more than work. It was like a good relationship, and we put it a lot of years. We won some championships and we did pretty organized work.”
Working with certain trainers in the sport…
“I can tell you names of people, but normally I don’t like saying certain names of fighters, but I can tell you the trainers I have worked with. I have worked with John David Jackson, Buddy McGirt, I worked with [Felix] Trinidad Sr., I even worked with Barry Hunter. I could tell you more of the trainers because when I tell you the trainers, you know I’ve been working with fighters. When I am in camp with one fighter, I am with the fighter only and I don’t like mentioning the other fighters because I feel it’s disrespectful.”
Updates from Rigondeaux’s South Florida camp…
“Camp has been great. He’s looking spectacular, strong. I truly believe that no one at 122 can match Rigondeaux. One of the things that makes him so special as a fighter is the experience that he has. A lot of people talking just about him as an amateur, but he’s on a different level. Not only in the things he does, it’s the mental state of him, the belief he has that he is special.”
Seeing Rigondeaux-Ramos postponed repeatedly…
“You know, that’s the thing I tell you about the mental state, when the fight was postponed he was disappointed, but after that he said ‘You know what? It’s another day. This change is for the better’. And the fight’s been postponed different times. This is like the fourth time. He said that he just has to keep training and he will be waiting for the 20th to come. Before it was [December] 31st. Before the 31st it was the 17th, and before the 17th it was November 3rd. Right now it looks like it’s going to be January 20th. This fight has even changed even different venues and different cities.”
Whether he looks at Nonito Donaire as a threat to Rigondeaux…
“No. I don’t think Nonito Donaire is any threat to Rigondeaux. The only thing that I know for sure, is that his people, and his people around him, they don’t say anything, but they are going to try not to match Nonito with Rigondeaux. Rigondeaux is a real boxer and he can punch. Look at how the Argentinean (Omar Narvaez) made him look. He was not pressing the issue. He’s supposed to go and fight the guy. When people try to say that Nonito is a destroyer, he’s supposed to go after the guy and he couldn’t hit the guy no matter what. Nonito Donaire can’t deal with a boxer and we saw that in his last fight.”
Why Houston, Texas-based trainer Ronnie Shields isn’t with Rigondeaux this camp…Tags: Nonito Donaire , Guillermo Rigondeaux
“Ronnie had other commitments I believe. I know he had to go to Mexico for a fight with [Kermit Cintron]. And also Ronnie went to Mexico for a couple weeks and Rigondeaux was scheduled to fight before. When they started, the fight was scheduled for the 17th and went to the 31st.”