By Chris Robinson
On Saturday night, Cuba’s Guillermo Rigondeaux perched himself onto the championship ranks with a convincing 6th round knockout over former champion Rico Ramos inside of the Palms Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Fighting on Showtime’s airwaves, Rigondeaux was patient throughout the contest, registering a knockdown in the first and yet again five rounds later as he landed a barrage of punches that left his Pico Rivera, California counterpart helpless and lying on his back until referee Joe Cortez counted him out.
Calling the action from ringside, WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward couldn’t help but give Rigondeaux his due respect.
But that’s when the slight praise from Ward stopped, as he was then asked about a possible fight with bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire, who is moving up in weight for his February 4th assignment against former title holder Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. on February 4th on HBO.
“I thought Rigondeaux, he did what he had to do,” Ward told me shortly after the fight. “He saw that Rico was tight and he didn’t want to open up and basically he came in here like he was the champion. I know he was the interim champ, but he came in here like he owned the belt and it showed.”
Having known Donaire very well over the years after crossing paths in the Bay Area of Northern California, Ward admits he might have a touch of bias, but speaks with conviction on just how different of a fight Nonito would bring.
“Well, Nonito is clearly a friend of mine but he’s a beast,” stated Ward. “When the lights are bright he shows up and I don’t think that will happen. If Nonito Donaire fights Rigondeaux, he’s going to bring it. He’s fast, he’s powerful, he does a lot of different stuff. It’s going to be a different night if Rigondeaux fights Nonito.”
Ward is still basking a bit in the limelight that came from his recent Super Six finale victory over Carl Froch last month. Ward pounded out a unanimous decision over the bombastic Brit in Atlantic City on December 17th and further bolstered his status as one of the most complete fighters in the sport.
All eyes are upon Ward but the 27-year old seems unsure what move is next for him.
“We’re just trying to put the pieces together,” Ward claimed. “There’s a lot of moving pieces right now and we’re just trying to figure out what’s realistic. Hopefully, within the next three to four weeks, we’ll have something to give to the fans and give to the media.”
Photo journalist Chris Robinson
Tags: Nonito Donaire , Andre Ward , Guillermo Rigondeaux
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