By: Hans Themistode
At one point in time, the mere mention of Guillermo Rigondeaux’s name made anyone who was in his division sweat. Now however, not so much.
When Rigondeaux first came onto the scene back in 2009, he had plenty of eyes on him. That’s what happens when you come into the sport with two Olympic gold medals dangling around your neck.
His gold collection increased after his seventh pro fight when he defeated Ricardo Cordoba for the interim WBA Super Bantamweight title. Just five fights later, Rigondeaux found himself across the ring from Nonito Donaire. The man many believed was the best in the division at the time.
Rigondeaux made it look easy in coasting to a unanimous decision victory. Grabbing the WBO title that was in the possession of Donaire as well.
Things were supposed to sky rocket for the new unified champ.
Big fights, more fame and definitely tons of money were all in his immediate future. Yet, none of it came his way. Instead, Rigondeaux became extraneous.
Growing tired of fighting nobodies for pennies, he decided to take a risk. That risk came in the form of fellow two time Olympic gold medalist Vasiliy Lomachenko.
There’s no need to regurgitate what happened in that contest because it has already been done at nauseam. Rigondeaux was dominated and seemingly quit during the match. Not a good look to say the least.
With more than two years since that embarrassing loss, Rigondeaux has won two contest in a row but against the sort of competition that even the most hardcore of fans would have a hard time identifying.
Now, at the age of 39, he’s running out of time.
In just a few days, the former two time Olympic gold medalist and former world champion returns to the ring against Liborio Solis at the PPL Center, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. On the line will be a vacant Bantamweight world title.
“This is a very big deal for me,” said Rigondeaux. ”For years I was one of the best fighters in the world, if not, the best fighter in the world. When you’re a champion, you only fight the top opponents and those are the type of fights I want. I’m going to start another long reign as champion beginning February 8.”
39 isn’t exactly a young age in the sport of boxing. In fact, it’s considered ancient.
The days of Rigondeaux claiming a spot on anyone’s pound-for-pound list are long gone but that doesn’t mean that he can’t regain some of the shine that he once had. On February 8th, he’ll either prove that he has plenty left in the tank or if this is the end of the road.