John Riel Casimero’s promoter questioned judge Tim Cheatham for rewarding Guillermo Rigondeaux on Saturday night, but Sean Gibbons saved his harshest comments for the Cuban southpaw himself.
The president of Manny Pacquiao’s promotional company ripped Rigondeaux for what Gibbons considers an “embarrassing” performance in his 12-round, split-decision defeat to Casimero in Carson, California. The 40-year-old Rigondeaux mostly moved away from the heavy-handed Filipino champion during a mundane main event Showtime televised from Dignity Health Sports Park.
“This man came out to fight, give the fans what they want,” Gibbons said in reference to Casimero during their post-fight press conference. “He was throwing punches. The guy’s running for his life. The referee [Jerry Cantu] did a horrible job. The referee should’ve stopped, said, ‘Fight! Or I’m taking points, doing something.’ It’s a joke. It’s a f------- joke!”
CompuBox credited Rigondeaux (20-2, 13 KOs, 1 NC) for landing 44 of only 221 punches, an average of just 18.4 per round, in their fight. CompuBox unofficially counted 47 of 297 punches for Casimero (31-4, 21 KOs), who retained his WBO bantamweight championship.
Nevada’s Cheatham scored the fight 115-113 for Rigondeaux, who won seven rounds on Cheatham’s card despite his inactivity and extreme caution. The two other judges – Nevada’s Robert Hoyle (117-111) and California’s Daniel Sandoval (116-112) – respectively scored nine and eight rounds for Casimero.
“I was a little surprised,” Gibbons said. “All I can say is I don’t know what Tim Cheatham was looking at, but he needs to go back and figure out how to score a fight because he was horrible tonight. You don’t win fights on your back foot, running for your life. Casimero buzzed Rigondeaux in the first round and, in my 35 years in boxing, that’s the most embarrassing fight I’ve ever seen.
“And it didn’t happen because of this man [Casimero]. It happened because of Guillermo Rigondeaux. And I don’t even know how the guy can walk around and say he was in a fight. It was horrible. So, yeah, I was speechless when I heard split decision.”
Rigondeaux’s reluctance to engage became more obvious with each passing round. Casimero seemed to get Rigondeaux’s attention with his power in the first round, but even the three-division champion was caught off guard by the two-time Olympic gold medalist’s unwillingness to exchange punches.
“I know Rigondeaux always run,” Casimero said, “but I am surprised because [he was] running always. No punching.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.