By Keith Idec
Dino Duva didn’t use the “F” word.
Then again, it wasn’t really necessary. Duva, an executive for Roc Nation Sports (Rigondeaux’s promoter), made it perfectly clear Monday that the handlers for Guillermo Rigondeaux believe Moises Flores was faking June 17 in Las Vegas.
They think Flores could’ve continued despite that Rigondeaux landed a left hand after the bell to end the first round of their scheduled 12-round, 122-pound title fight at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Referee Vic Drakulich initially ruled it a first-round knockout victory for the Cuban-born Rigondeaux, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission voted unanimously during a meeting Monday morning to change the result to a no-contest.
Video and audio evidence clearly displays that Rigondeaux’s left hand landed after the bell. Flores’ response to that punch has created great debate on social media and elsewhere.
Many of Flores’ critics contend he exaggerated how hurt he was because he thought he could win by disqualification and take the WBA super bantamweight championship from Rigondeaux. The result wasn’t changed to a disqualification because Drakulich and the NSAC determined that Rigondeaux’s foul was unintentional.
Duva asked the NSAC to consider Flores’ response to the foul when he addressed the commission during its meeting Monday.
Duva also pointed out that Flores threw a right hand after the bell as well. Flores’ delayed reaction after Rigondeaux’s left hand landed left Flores flat on his back, near a neutral corner.
“The one thing I would like you to just keep in mind and ask that you consider is that both fighters were throwing punches after the bell,” Duva said. “I think that’s very clear. I don’t know that it’s fair to Mr. Rigondeaux to get penalized, given all the circumstances that happened. And the other thing that I think should be considered and thought about is when Flores went down, it was very questionable over whether or not he had ever intended to try to get up. And also, [Flores’] manager, after the fight was over, in an interview stated that he intentionally stayed down on the canvas. The reason I’m bringing that up is if there’s an unintentional foul, normally the fighter that was fouled would get a certain period of time to recover and compete in the bout. And if he doesn’t, or if he refuses, he would lose by technical knockout.
“And while I know that it never got to that point in this situation, I think there was a clear path that this might’ve been headed towards. And I just don’t think Mr. Rigondeaux should be penalized, given all these circumstances. [The knockout] being switched to a no-decision could open things up for him to get a rematch ordered by the WBA and things like that. And it could really adversely affect his career. And that’s the thing that concerns me about reversing this to a no-decision. … I just hope this doesn’t adversely affect Mr. Rigondeaux’s career, because it would be unfair if it did.”
The WBA is expected to order a rematch between Miami’s Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs, 1 NC) and Mexico’s Flores (25-0, 17 KOs, 2 NC), the interim WBA 122-pound champion and the mandatory challenger for the 36-year-old Rigondeaux’s title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.