By Keith Idec
As expected, the WBA announced Wednesday it has ordered a Guillermo Rigondeaux-Moises Flores rematch.
The Panama City-based sanctioning organization’s ruling came eight days after the result of their 122-pound title fight was changed from a first-round knockout win for Rigondeaux to a no-contest by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The WBA gave representatives for Rigondeaux and Flores 30 days to come to an agreement on contractual terms for an immediate rematch.
Rigondeaux was declared the winner by first-round knockout June 17 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, but the Rigondeaux left hand that ended the bout clearly landed after the bell. The NSAC voted unanimously June 26 to change the result to a no-contest because video and audio evidence proved Rigondeaux’s punch connected after the bell sounded to end the first round.
Referee Vic Drakulich said at ringside after the fight that he didn’t hear the bell ring and wasn’t sure when Rigondeaux threw the punch. The NSAC had instant replays available at ringside, but didn’t immediately change the result just before Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev entered the ring for their light heavyweight championship rematch that night.
Mexico’s Flores also threw at least one punch after the bell sounded and was criticized by members of Rigondeaux’s team, media and fans for exaggerating how hurt he was from Rigondeaux’s left hand. Flores fell flat on his back after Rigondeaux hit him late and remained on the canvas for several minutes.
Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs, 1 NC), a Miami resident who won two gold medals for Cuba, retained his WBA super bantamweight title. Flores (25-0, 17 KOs, 2 NC) is the WBA’s interim champion at 122 pounds and the mandatory challenger for Rigondeaux’s title.
The 36-year-old Rigondeaux could surrender his title and move up 126 pounds for a higher-profile fight if he doesn’t want to face Flores again.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.