Guillermo Rigondeaux turned a glorified sparring session into an extension of his current knockout streak.
The legendary former lineal junior featherweight champion put late substitute Charlie Clemente down for the full ten count in a seventh-round knockout victory. A left hand to the midsection sent Clemente to the canvas where he was counted out by referee Samuel Burgos at 2:43 of round seven in their bantamweight contest.
The bout aired as part of a Don King-promoted Fite TV Pay-Per-View extravaganza Friday evening from Casino Miami Jai Alai.
The opponent switch certainly didn’t help as Rigondeaux was given little reason to get out of first gear. Puerto Rico’s Clemente accepted the fight on roughly one week’s notice after Argentina’s Julian Evaristo Aristule (35-17-1, 18KOs) was unable to secure a travel visa to enter the U.S. in time for the fight.
Clemente did little more than throw one punch at a time and move around the ring anytime Rigondeaux went on the chase. Rigondeaux—a two-time Olympic Gold medalist for Cuba who lives locally in Miami—was content to win every round solely on the strength of his jab, as any effort to throw a power shot behind it was negated by Clemente’s negative style.
Rigondeaux landed a left hook which sent Clemente to the ropes and on the run in round five. The follow-up attack saw the 42-year-old Rigondeaux throw punches from long range, but only caught gloves and air. Clemente waded through his opponent’s jabs and flicked right hands that never came close to finding the mark.
The threat of a methodical ten-round shutout was erased with a single shot in round seven. Clemente was on the move for much of the round before Rigondeaux—who grew increasingly aggressive—connected with a flush left hand to the solar plexus. Clemente (12-1, 5KOs) flopped around on the canvas as he squirmed in pain for the duration of Burgos’ ten-count.
Rigondeaux advanced to 22-3 (15KOs) with his second knockout in as many fights on the year. He returned to the ring and the win column with a first-round stoppage on February 24 in nearby Hialeah, which snapped a two-fight losing streak.
Headlining the show, former four-division titlist Adrien Broner (34-4-1, 24KOs) ends a 28-month layoff as he faces Pittsburgh’s Bill Hutchinson (20-2-4, 9KOs) in a ten-round welterweight contest. Cincinnati’s Broner—who turns 34 in July—has not fought since a February 2021 unanimous decision victory over Puerto Rico’s Jovanie Santiago.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox