By Keith Idec
Guillermo Rigondeaux’s hand wasn’t broken Saturday night.
According to multiple reports, promoter Dino Duva confirmed Tuesday that Rigondeaux suffered a bruise to his left hand, not a fracture, before declining to continue beyond the sixth round against Vasyl Lomachenko in their 130-pound title fight in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Duva works for Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports, which co-promotes Rigondeaux.
The 37-year-old Rigondeaux (17-1, 11 KOs, 1 NC), a southpaw, suspected that he suffered a fracture to the top of his left hand in the second round. The Cuban-born Rigondeaux was way behind on all three scorecards when the scheduled 12-round fight ended (60-53, 59-54, 59-54).
He had grown increasingly frustrated by his inability to land clean punches against Rigondeaux – only 15 overall through six rounds, according to unofficial CompuBox statistics – and employed questionable tactics throughout the bout. Referee Steve Willis deducted a point from Rigondeaux for excessive holding toward the end of the sixth round.
The severity of Rigondeaux’s hand injury aside, the previously unbeaten former WBA 122-pound champion has been criticized for quitting in one of the two biggest fights of his nine-year career.
Ukraine’s Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) was among those that questioned why Rigondeaux didn’t continue, even if his left hand had been fractured (http://www.boxingscene.com/lomachenko-on-rigondeaux-injury-ive-fought-with-one-hand--123297).
Lomachenko went off as a 3-1 favorite, despite the Cuban-born Rigondeaux’s pedigree, because Rigondeaux is eight years older, moved up two weight classes for their fight and had boxed just three combined rounds in the past two years.
Despite Rigondeaux’s disadvantages, their aesthetically disappointing fight drew intense interest among boxing fans because both boxers were considered among the top 10 fighters, pound-for-pound, in the world.
Lomachenko made the fourth defense of a WBO 130-pound title he won by knocking out Puerto Rico’s Rocky Martinez in the fifth round of their June 2016 fight at The Theater.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.