With Freddie Roach in his corner, Guillermo Rigondeaux, a two time Olympic gold medalist from Cuba, was forced to go the eight-round distance by New York-based African Lante Addy on Wednesday night at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City. Rigondeaux, now 4-0 (3KO’s) won the unanimous decision with a precision performance that dazzled purists.
“El Chacal” (more on that later) entered the ring wearing a long, Klitschko-esque black robe, and just oozed world class and experience. He confidently paced around the ring throwing light practice punches. But when the bell rang, he quickly transformed into a hunting jungle predator. Every move, every movement – the knee bends, the shoudler sways, the hand swirls – was for a purpose. He showed us flashes of his greatness – the exceptional speed and combinations, the Matrix-like defensive moves, the beautiful footwork – but the well conditioned and strong African was a tough turtle to crack on this night. Afterwards, Roach said his new man has all the skills but tends to be a counterpuncher and needs to work on being more aggressive.
My impression is that Rigondeaux is so sharp and so good right now, he could fight for and win a world title at junior featherweight or featherweight. Right now.
My companion asked the Cuban next to us what El Chacal meant. It’s not an actual Spanish word but is the name of a black robed character on a Cuban version of America’s Got Talent-type TV show, who comes on stage and physically removes performers. Presumably Rigondeaux loves the show and the character El Chacal.
El Chacal was very friendly with the media, doing many interviews in the ring with reporters but he did not speak English. Later, when he left Kings with Freddie Roach and his Cuban friends, he saw Addy in the lobby and again went over and graciously embraced him, as he did after the fight.
As a cluster of reporters walked down 42nd Street to Broadway, recording every word from Roach as he spoke, when I looked back for Rigondeaux, he was suddenly gone, He went to get something to eat. We’ll have to speak with him at his next fight, which will be in Miami in January, I was told.
Undercard results: Heavyweight Tor Hammer, trained by Shawn Raysor, moved to 10-0 with 8 KO’s after a first-round blowout of Mazur Ali (6-5, 3 KOs). A body blow finished the job. Raysor told me after, Hamer has been training hard with Eddie Chambers and is very sharp. Though unfortunately, Ali didn’t present enough challenge to force Hamer to show it. Though Hamer was an impressive presence in the ring and his punches looked lethal.
At 130 pounds, Luis Del Valle (8-0, 6 KOs) scored a second round TKO over Noe Lopez (5-5). The fight of the night was at 140, Gabriel Bracero (8-0) outpointed Carl McNickols (6-3) over six by unanimous decision. But both fighters were hurt and it was a very entertaining match. Christian Martinez (2-0, 2 KOs) opened the show with a one-minute stoppage of Gabriel Morris (1-5-1).
Notes: The venue was jam-packed and it was a fantastic atmosphere, with Paulie Malignaggi, Daniel Jacobs, Cedric Kushner, ref Randy Neumann, son Patrick Neumann, among others, in attendance. Lou DiBella’s “Broadway Boxing” are must-see viewing if you ever get the chance.