Tag Archives: rigondeaux

Guillermo Rigondeaux Wants Naoya Inoue: “Lets Go Monster Hunting”


By: Hans Themistode

Two seems to be the favorite number of current WBA “Regular” Bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux. 

Back in 2004 he took home the gold medal in the Olympic Games, in Athens Greece. Four years later, he followed that up with another gold winning effort. This time, in Beijing China. 

Since turning pro, his success hasn’t slowed down in the slightest. He defeated Ricardo Ramos for the WBA Super Bantamweight world title in 2008 and made several defenses of his aforementioned title. Fast forward eight years later, and Rigondeaux found himself as a world champion once again. 

On February 8th, at the PPL Center in Allentown Pennsylvania, the now 39 year old Rigondeaux made it look easy in defeating fellow former champion Liborio Solis for the vacant WBA “Regular” title. 

There’s a theme building here. Rigondeaux has two gold medals in his possession and he is now a two weight world champion. He now has his eyes set on claiming something else for the second time. 

In 2013, Rigondeaux received the chance to face off with sure fire hall of famer Nonito Donaire. At the time, Donaire was considered a top three pound for pound level fighter. The chances of Rigondeaux pulling off the upset were infinitesimal at best. Just chalk it up as another win under the belt of Donaire is what most observers believed. That narrative was quickly put to bed as Rigondeaux cruised to an easy unanimous decision victory on the night. 

Rigondeaux was considered the monster in the division. The man no one truly wanted to step inside of the ring against. Now however, that distinction has been stripped and given to another fighter. 

Naoya “Monster” Inoue. 

When you peel away the bright smile and the unassuming look on the face of Inoue, you will quickly see why he is considered a “monster”.

With just 19 fights under his belt, Inoue has beaten several world champions. He defeated a loaded field during the World Boxing Super Series tournament, and now, he currently has a date with fellow titlist John Riel Casimero with the opportunity to grab the WBO belt to add to his already overflowing collection that includes the WBA and IBF hardware. 

Not many are fully interested in facing off with Inoue but not only is Rigondeaux interested, he is chasing down the fight now that he is in his natural weight class.

“He’s an excellent fighter, great fighter. Warrior,” said Rigondeaux on how he views Inoue as a fighter. “But now I’m in my weight, before I was fighting guys bigger than me. Now I’m in my weight, let’s go ‘Monster’ hunting.”

The former two time olympic gold medalist has always been confident in his abilities, so his willingness to chase down Inoue isn’t entirely surprising. As for how he expects a contest to go between the two, Rigondeaux anticipates a chess match.

“Once you start, people start adjusting. He’s got a lot of things that I do too, he’s a well rounded boxer, so we’re both gonna make incredible adjustments when that fight comes.”

As previously mentioned, Rigondeaux seems to be enamored with the number two. 

A win over Inoue would present him with the second win of his career over a pound for pound level fighter, which would fit perfectly next to his two gold medals and two championship titles in the Bantamweight division and Super Bantamweight division. 

It would be a major cap in what has already been a fantastic career for Rigondeaux. But the question is, when the time comes, will he be able to pull it off? 

More Headlines

Guillermo Rigondeaux is Still Looking For Redemption


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. 

Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account

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. 

More Headlines

Boxing Insider Notebook: Kikland, Hernandez, Conlan, Stevenson, Jones, Rigondeaux, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 28th to February 4th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Photo Credit: Hosanna Rull/iRULL FOTOS

Shakur Stevenson-Miguel Marriaga and Michael Conlan-Belmar Preciado Headline Separate Hulu Theater at MSG Shows March 14 and March 17

Shakur Stevenson, the 22-year-old phenom on the cusp of pound-for-pound greatness, will make the first defense of his WBO featherweight world title Saturday, March 14, against three-time world title challenger Miguel “Escorpión” Marriaga at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Three days later, Irish featherweight Michael “Mick” Conlan will make his annual St. Patrick’s Day pilgrimage at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in a 10-rounder against hard-charging Colombian veteran Belmar Preciado.

The Stevenson-Marriaga co-feature will see former junior featherweight world champion Jessie Magdaleno fight the unbeaten Sakaria Lukas in a 10-round featherweight showdown. Stevenson-Marriaga and Magdaleno-Lukas will be televised LIVE on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT.

Conlan-Preciado and a 10-round female super featherweight showdown between the unbeaten Mikaela Mayer and former featherweight world champion Melissa Hernandez will stream live in English and Spanish on ESPN+ beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

Promoted by Top Rank, tickets for the Stevenson-Marriaga and Conlan-Preciado cards are priced at $200, $100, $70, $40 and $30 (not including applicable fees) and go on sale Friday, Feb. 7 at 12 p.m. ET. Tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008) and online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.MSG.com.

For a limited time, when purchasing a ticket online to one of these cards, you will then be given the option to purchase discounted tickets to the other event.

“What a great two nights of boxing on ESPN and ESPN+, as we get to see Shakur Stevenson defend his title against the big-punching Marriaga and Mick Conlan continue one of boxing’s great traditions,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “New York is going to turn out in force to watch two of boxing’s great young stars.”

Stevenson (13-0, 7 KOs), the pride of “Brick City”, Newark, N.J., was the first male boxer from the 2016 Rio Olympics to win a professional world title. Last October, he bested Joet Gonzalez via unanimous decision to win the vacant WBO featherweight world title. The Gonzalez win punctuated a banner year for the Olympic silver medalist, who also defeated former world title challenger Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz on the Terence Crawford-Amir Khan PPV undercard. Last July, he headlined an ESPN telecast in front of an adoring hometown crowd of more than 5,000 at Prudential Center, knocking out Alberto Guevara in three rounds.

“We’ve been trying to make this fight with Miguel Marriaga for a long time now,” Stevenson said. “I wanted a strong opponent for my first title defense. He’s been in the ring with multiple world champions, and I am ready to prove that I am the best featherweight in the world. This is my fourth fight at Madison Square Garden, but my first as a world champion, and it will be my best performance yet. I know all of my East Coast fans will come out and support on March 14.”

Marriaga (29-3, 25 KOs), one of the division’s hardest punchers, is hoping the fourth time’s a charm. He fell short in previous world title challenges against Vasiliy Lomachenko, Oscar Valdez and Nicholas Walters, but he’s riding a four-bout winning streak (all by KO). He last fought in December 2019, knocking out Alfredo Mejia Vargas with a body shot. A native of Arjona, Colombia, he’s been scouting Stevenson as a potential foe.

“I always wanted this fight, and the time is right now that he’s a world champion,” Marriaga said. “He speaks often about how people are ducking him, but here I am. Colombia will have a new world champion March 14.”

Magdaleno (27-1, 18 KOs) is 2-0 as a featherweight since losing his junior featherweight world title to Isaac Dogboe in one of the best fights of 2018. A native of Las Vegas, he is coming off a unanimous technical decision over Rafael Rivera last August in Los Angeles. Lukas (23-0, 16 KOs), from Namibia, is one boxing’s best-kept secrets, a nine-year pro who has three knockouts in his last four fights.

“The guys people don’t know about are the dangerous ones,” Magdaleno said. “With the mindset I have now, I don’t think anybody can beat me. “My trainer {Jorge Capetillo} and I are looking ahead. I’m just waiting on what’s next, but we have to take care of business against Lukas first. Once we do that, I have every right to call out all of the champions.”

“There is a Desert Storm coming to New York in the name of Sakaria Lukas, and this storm is targeting the destruction of Jessie Magdaleno,” Lukas said.

Conlan (13-0, 7 KOs) has made Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden his professional home, as he turned pro in front of a sold-out St. Patrick’s Day crowd there back in 2017. In the years since, he has graduated from prospect to contender, as he’s the No. 1 contender for the title held by Stevenson. He went 3-0 in 2019, including a decision win in December over Olympic nemesis Vladimir Nikitin. Preciado (20-2-1, 13 KOs) will be making his third ring appearance outside of his native Colombia, and he has won two in a row since a KO loss to former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa. 

“I’m honored to return to the Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden, and fight for the fourth straight St. Patrick’s Day,” Conlan said. “I know how tough Preciado is, but this fight is a great test as I continue on my path towards becoming a world champion. Fighting in New York City is very special for me. The fans have been very supportive right from the beginning at my pro debut on St. Patrick’s Day in 2017, and I look forward to putting on another tremendous show for them this year.”

“The fans will be there to see Conlan, but mark my words, they will remember me,” Preciado said. “I am more than just another ‘opponent.’ When I win, I won’t be surprised. I am prepared for a hard 10 rounds.”

Mayer (12-0, 5 KOs), who turned pro in August 2017 after representing the United States at the 2016 Rio Olympics, has been dominant in the paid ranks. One of the 130-pound division’s top contenders, she last fought Oct. 26 on the Shakur Stevenson-Joet Gonzalez undercard, knocking out Alejandra Zamora in six rounds. Hernandez (23-7-3, 7 KOs), winner of four of her last five, won the WBC female featherweight world title in 2012. Last April, she dominated then-unbeaten Selina Barrios over eight rounds. “I’m excited to be fighting again in New York City, especially on St. Patrick’s Day at Madison Square Garden,” Mayer said. “I love that I’m going up against a former world champion because it’s going to make for a very competitive, exciting event. I’m also happy to be on a Mick Conlan card. He has a huge

Guillermo Rigondeaux Training Camp Quotes


Former world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux will seek to become a three-time, two-division world champion when he moves down to bantamweight to challenge former champion Liborio Solis for the vacant WBA title live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, February 8 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from PPL Center in Allentown, Pa.

“I’m trying to make history by winning a third world title in a second weight class, while also matching my two [Olympic] Gold Medals,” said Rigondeaux, who will fight at bantamweight for the first time in his career. “I want to make a statement and solidify my legacy as one of the best Cuban fighters ever. I want the boxing world to be talking about me, as I seek to become a world champion once again. February 8 will be a special day for me and my family.

“I know at super bantamweight I am a force to be reckoned with. Now that I’m moving down to bantamweight, I feel stronger and I’m getting the most out of my skills. The bantamweight and super bantamweight divisions are filled with great fighters to test myself against. It’s a very exciting time and I am training very hard for each opportunity that is granted to me.”

This will be Rigondeaux’s second straight fight working with the renowned head trainer Ronnie Shields, and conducting training camp at Shields’ gym in Houston.

“Ronnie and I are working very hard and smart,” said Rigondeaux. “We have put together a great game plan that we are going to execute on fight night. All of my tools are getting sharpened up and everyone will see that the hard work we’ve put in will pay off. Ronnie is a great coach and I’ll be fighting with something to prove on fight night.”

“He is very focused, and one of the hardest workers in the gym,” said Shields. “Rigondeaux is so determined to become a world champion once again. He comes to camp every single day with that goal, and I don’t see any way he doesn’t achieve it.”

Rigondeaux is coming off an exciting knockout win over former world champion Julio Ceja last June. The Guantanamo, Cuba native will look to capture his next world title when he faces Solis, a former super flyweight world champion for the vacant WBA belt.

“Solis is a good opponent and a worthy challenger, but I am ready to reclaim my status as a world champion,” said Rigondeaux. “I’m going to show people why I am one of the best boxers of my generation.

“This is a very big deal for me. 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.”

Uprising Promotions Adds Middleweight Melody Popravak to Roster

Ronson Frank’s Uprising Promotions announced today that it has added middleweight Melody Popravak to its roster. After most recently competing in the Olympic Trials at 165 pounds, Popravak now has her sights set on making her professional debut under the Uprising Promotions banner this spring.

“Uprising Promotions has been an avid supporter of women’s boxing at our shows over the years, and we are excited to sign Melody as the first female boxer officially on our team,” said Ronson Frank, Uprising Promotions President. “Melody is a really hard worker who is dedicated to her craft. She is eager to fight, and we look forward to getting her into the ring as soon as possible.”

Originally from Fort Myers, Florida, Popravak now trains and resides in Brooklyn, New York. A high-level athlete throughout her life, she is a former NCAA Division 1 softball player at Boston University and Florida Gulf Coast University. Additionally, she achieved her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Accounting and has her Personal Trainer Certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Popravak only started boxing a little over a year ago, but she quickly proved to be a fast learner. During a very successful amateur campaign, she won the 2018 New York Metros Championship, 2019 Ringmasters Silver, 2019 Eastern Qualifier Bronze and 2019 Last Chance Qualifier Silver, which solidified her spot in the 2020 Olympic Trials. She eventually placed fourth at the Olympic Trials, defeating some of the top competition in the country.

Now working towards her professional debut, Popravak is currently training under the tutelage of Steven Frank. A former IBF world title challenger and NBA super middleweight champion, Frank also competed in the 1984 Olympics and was recently inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame. Assisting him is Thomas Baldwin, who brings a high amateur pedigree and further professional experience to the team.

“I could not be in better hands than having Steven Frank as my mentor and trainer in boxing,” said Popravak. “To move into the professional ranks just as he did, and be working with Uprising Promotions as well, it is a dream come true! The entire female middleweight division is stacked with talent and excitement right now, and I am ready to add my name into the mix.”

Stay tuned as details begin to materialize on the professional debut of Popravak under the Uprising Promotions banner.

Shearns Boxing Promotions to Promote 1st Pro Boxing Show Ever in Framingham, Mass.

Shearns Boxing Promotions (SBP) has announced it will bring professional boxing for the first time ever to Framingham, Massachusetts with “Fight Night In Framingham,” Friday night, March 20, at Sheraton Framingham Hotel.

Proceeds will benefit Fighting Life, an after-school youth boxing and academic empowerment program, available 100-percent free of charge, to students beginning in elementary school through high school education.  With the continuous growth in technology and available access to various social media platforms today, children (especially those ages 11 to 18 years) are easily exposed to and influenced by various social pressures, such as but not limited to, hatred, drug availability, and everyday violence.  Located out of UpperKuts Boxing Club in Ashland, Massachusetts, the Fighting Life Boxing Program was founded by owner and head coach, A.J. Thomas, as a resource and program to provide children with a positive outlet and outlook in life. Visit www.fightinglife.org to learn more about this organization.

“We are extremely happy to bring professional boxing to Framingham for the first time,” SBP president Chuck Shearns said, “in addition to teaming with such a great cause in Fighting Life. “We believe that there are plenty of boxing fans in the community who will enjoy a quality show. The early support for this event has been amazing and local businesses have been extremely charitable.

“On a personal note, SBP and Framingham have a very important history together. It is where I first met my wife, Karen, and lived when starting our family. I also boxed in Framingham when I was younger.”

The City of Framingham, located 20 miles southwest of Boston, dates back to the American Revolution and, perhaps, may be better known as being part of the famed Boston Marathon course. Framingham may never have had a pro boxing show held there, but it doesn’t necessarily mean boxing isn’t popular in the city of nearly 69,000 residents.

“We’ve had amateur boxing shows in Framingham, but this will be the first professional event,” Thomas explained. “Kids here are into boxing even though they may not be as knowledgeable about boxing as elsewhere. If more kids understand what boxing can do to better their lives, boxing would have and will get bigger with more exposure to the sport, and that’s why it’s so important to support this show.”

Framingham’s most notable boxer is 2008 USA Olympic Team alternate, Danny O’Connor, who has 30-3 (11 KOs) as a pro. Many Framingham-area boxers now have an opportunity to establish their own names in that market, starting with the March 20th show, including unbeaten super featherweight Timmy Ramos (5-0-2, 5 KOs).

Ramos, a two-time New England Golden Gloves champion, plans to grab the local spotlight in the 6-round, main event against Carlos Marrero, III (2-3-1), of Bridgeport, Connecticut. In 2017, Ramos fought to a 4-round, majority draw with Philip Davis, who Marrero upset in his last fight by way of as 4-round, split decision.

In the co-featured event, undefeated super featherweight Nelson “Chino” Perez (2-0, 2 KOs) faces an opponent to be determined in a 6-tound match. Another New England Golden Gloves champion, Puerto Rico-native Perez fights out of nearby Marlboro, MA.

In a battle of quality MMA fighters in a boxing ring, Albania-born super middleweight Kastriot “Slaughterhouse” Xhema, fighting out of Greenwich, CT, makes his pro boxing debut versus Framingham favorite Saul “The Spider” Almeida (0-10-3, 20-11 in MMA), who hails from Brazil.

Also fighting on the undercard is Southbridge, MA welterweight Wilfredo “El Sucaro” Pagan (6-1, 3 KOs) vs. Tyrone “Hands of Stone” Luckey (9-12-4, 7 KOs), in a 6-round bout; Worcester, MA super welterweight Hansen Castillo (0-3), Worcester super featherweight Ranse Andino (1-1) and pro-debuting Hartford, CT super flyweight Angel Gonzalez, Jr. against opponents to be determined in 4-round fights.

All fights and fighters are subject to change.

Tickets prices are $75,.00 ringside (rows 1-3), $60.00 (seated), $45.00 standing room, and VIP tables (of 10) for $1000.00 and may be purchased HERE, at UpperKuts gym, or from any of the local fighters on the card.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. ET, first fight at 7 p.m. ET.

Street Light Ventures is the presenting sponsor. Other sponsors include Bernardi Auto Group, East Coast Herbalist, Tecate, Ashwood Advisors LLC and A Affordable Insurance.

Split-T Management’s Otha Jones III and Hurshidbek Normatov Gain Midweek Wins

Two members of the Split-T Management management stable, junior lightweight Otha Jones III and middleweight Hurshidbek Normatov scored big wins over the past five days.

Normatov got things started on Tuesday night when he gained a eight-round unanimous decision over Uriel Hernandez in Toronto.

Normatov resisted a knockdown in round seven en-route to the shutout victory by scores of 80-71.

The 27 year-old native of Brooklyn via Uzbekistan remained perfect as record jumped to 10-0.  Hernandez falls to 13-6.

Thursday night in Miami, Jones stopped 35-fight veteran Juan Santiago in round two of their scheduled six-round bout.

Jones was dominating over the four-and-a-half minute fight,  as he featured a strong right hand that continuously found a home on the head of Santiago.  Midway through the 2nd round, Jones dropped Santiago with that punch, and the bout was stopped at 1:29.

The 19 year-old native of Toledo, Ohio, Jones, who was a 21-time National Amateur Champion, improves his mark to 6-0 with two knockouts.

James Kirkland to Take On Marcos Hernandez on March 14th

Hard-hitting James Kirkland will take on all-action “Madman” Marcos Hernández in a 10-round middleweight showdown that headlines FS1 PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes Saturday, March 14 from MGM National Harbor in Maryland.

The action begins at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT and features unbeaten top prospect and 2016 Lithuanian Olympian Eimantas Stanionis taking on Justin DeLoach in the 10-round welterweight co-main event.

Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting www.mgmnationalharbor.com/.

“James Kirkland and Marcos Hernández both bring exciting styles to the ring that are sure to give the fans an action packed main event Saturday, March 14 live on FS1 from MGM National Harbor in Maryland,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Combined with Eimantas Stanionis, one of the 2016 Olympics’ most promising prospects, in a tough fight against the battle-tested Justin DeLoach, there will be high stakes drama in the ring for sure.”

Born in Austin and fighting out of San Antonio, Texas, Kirkland (34-2, 30 KOs) has made a name for himself as one of the most exciting and explosive fighters in the sport in a long career that’s only seen him defeated twice. The 35-year-old returned to the ring in 2019 with two knockout victories, his first action since losing to Canelo Alvarez in 2015. Kirkland sports an 83% knockout rate and has previously picked up notable wins against former champion Carlos Molina and Alfredo Angulo.

“I’m very excited to make the most of this opportunity,” said Kirkland. “I want to thank my whole team, Davies Entertainment, PBC and Warriors Boxing, for putting me in this position. It’s truly a blessing to be back in the mix. I’m training hard and perfecting my craft like always. Look for me to bring fireworks on March 14.”

The 26-year-old Hernández (14-3-1, 3 KOs) has faced excellent competition in his career, battling a litany of tough fellow rising contenders. Fighting out of Fresno, California, Hernández has twice faced current unified 154-pound champion Jeison Rosario, fighting to a draw in their first meeting before losing the rematch. He most recently lost a decision to Kevin Newman in November 2019, a rematch of a fight Hernández won in 2017. He has taken down then unbeaten fighters in Newman and Thomas Hill in 2016.

“It’s a dream come true to be in a fight like this against a dangerous man like James Kirkland,” said Hernández. “Everyone knows he has tremendous punching power and can take anyone out with one punch. But my plans are to take him to school and show him what a great boxer I am. At this point in my career, I’m ready to turn the corner and show everyone I have the talent to be a world champion. Everyone watching on FS1 will see a great battle between two warriors. The fans will get their money’s worth, that you can guarantee.”

A native of Lithuania who now lives and trains in the U.S., Stanionis (10-0, 7 KOs) is one of the most promising fighters to come out of the 2016 Olympic games and has continued to impress in the pro ranks. The 25-year-old will step up again in competition for the first time since a hand injury in May 2019 when he goes against DeLoach. Stanionis picked up three victories in 2019, beating Samuel Figueroa in March, before showing he was recovered from the hand injury by stopping Julio Cesar Sanchez and Evincii Dixon.

DeLoach (18-4, 9 KOs) will return to the ring looking to bounce back from a loss to then unbeaten Terrel Williams in April 2019. The 25-year-old put together an impressive run in 2016 and 2017, defeating three-straight unbeaten fighters in Dillon Cook, Junior Castillo and Domonique Dolton, before knocking out Christopher Pearson. The Augusta, Georgia native suffered defeats against now unified champion Jeison Rosario in 2018 and Nathaniel Gallimore in 2017, before rebounding to beat Michael Ogundo in November 2018.

More Headlines

Charlo Demolishes Cota, Rigondeaux Victorious


By: Sean Crose

After losing his WBC super welterweight title to Tony Harrison by unanimous decision last December, Jermell Charlo was eager to regain both his title and his winning ways. A rematch was scheduled, but Harrison had to pull out due to an injury. Charlo indicated he didn’t buy Harrison’s reason for stepping away from the bout, but the Houston native ended up impressing in his return fight regardless. For the 31-1 Charlo faced the 28-3 Jorge Cota on Sunday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas before PBC cameras in a battle that was aired live on Fox. Needless to say, Charlo made a distinct point by destroying Cota in the third round.

Although widely expected to win the fight, Charlo ended matters in disturbing fashion by laying Cota out on his back with a picture perfect straight right hand. Cota, who had previously been down only moments earlier, could be seen by FOX cameras lying under the ropes with his eyes wide open, completely out of commission. Referee Jay Nady didn’t even bother with a count, waving the fight off as soon as Cota hit the mat for the second time. There was criticism of Nady after for the bout for letting Cota resume fighting immediately after the first knockdown.

In truth, Cota did well for himself in the early portion of the very quick match. His awkward style kept Charlo from steamrolling him right at the bell and the judges even awarded Cota the opening round on the cards. Still, the man ended up being no match for Charlo, who merely had to figure out Cota’s style before finishing the southpaw in devastating fashion. Cota, who had last fought in April, suffered his second loss in a row. WBC champ Harrison watched the proceedings in person.

Earlier on in the evening, Guillermo Rigondeaux, who was once ranked high on the pound for pound list, returned after a long absence from the ring to stop Julio Ceja in the eighth round. The super bantamweight, who was last seen quitting on his stool against Vasyl Lomachenko back in 2017 (in what was the fighter’s only loss), had long ago earned himself a reputation as a “boring” fighter. Rigondeaux threw that reputation out the window on Sunday, engaging in a fan friendly war, and earning his 19th win the hard way. The game Ceja entered the ring with a record of 32-3. The highly skilled Rigondeaux ended up handing the Mexican fighter his second loss in a row.

More Headlines

Charlo vs. Cota and Rigondeaux vs. Ceja Fight Preview


By: William Holmes

On Sunday night the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada will be the host site for Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions Fight card to be televised live on Fox.

The main event of the evening will between Jermell Charlo and Jorge Cota in the junior middleweight division. The co-main event of the evening will be between former world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux and Julio Ceja in a WBC Junior Featherweight Eliminator.

The undercard features fighters such as Joey Spencer, Alberto Mercado, Jesus Ramos, Leduan Barthelemy, and Ryan Karl.

The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.

Guillermo Rigondeaux (18-1) vs. Julio Ceja (32-3); Junior Featherweight Division

Guillermo Rigondeaux was once considered a pound for pound great, but a loss to Vasily Lomachenko in 2017 affected his status on the pound for pound list.

At thirty eight years old he’s clearly past his prime, and is twelve years older than his opponent. However, Rigondeaux will have about a four and a half inch reach advantage but will be giving up an inch in height.

Rigondeaux has twelve stoppage wins on his resume while Ceja has twenty eight stoppage victories. Rigondeaux only loss was by stoppage to Vasily Lomachenko, Ceja has been stopped twice in his career.

Ceja is the younger brother of Luis Ceja but has no notable amateur experience. Rigondeaux is a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and is considered by many to be an all time amateur great.

Rigondeaux bounced back from his defeat to Lomachenko by defeating Giovanni Delgado quite easily. Other notable opponents include James Dickens, Drian Francisco, Joseph Agbeko, Nonito Doniare, Roberto Marroquin, and Teon Kennedy.

Ceja notable wins include Anselmo Moreno and Hugo Ruiz. His losses were to Jamie McDonnell, Hugo Ruiz, and a loss in his last fight to a 17-4 Franklin Manzanilla.

Even though Rigondeaux is getting older, he’s still a technical wizard, and should have no problems getting past Ceja.

Jermell Charlo (31-1) vs. Jorge Cota (28-3); Junior Middleweight Division

Jermell Charlo’s career hit an unexpected speed bump when he lost his last bout to Tony Harrison in a close upset.

However, many felt he did enough to win that fight and he’s still a top rated contender.

On Sunday he’ll be facing Jorge Cota, a contender that also lost his last bout, but it was against a relative unknown in Jeison Rosario.

Charlo is two years younger than his opponent, but both will be about the same height with about the same reach. Cota actually appears to have an edge in power as he has stopped twenty five of his opponents while Charlo has only stopped fiftee, but Cota’s resume is littered with low level opposition.

Charlo has beaten the likes of Austin Trout, Erickson Lubin, Charles Hatley, John Jackson, Vanes Martirosyan, Gabriel Rosado, and Harry Joe Yorgey. He has been fairy active and fought twice in 2018 and twice in 2017.

Cota’s notable wins include Yudel Jhonson and Euri Gonzalez. His other two losses were to Erickson Lubin and Marco Antonio Rubio. Cota fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and three times in 2017.

Charlo also has a clear edge in amateur experience as he was a bronze medalist in the Junior Olympics.

Cota has an impressive knockout ratio, but he has to defeat any top rated contenders and lost to fighters that many would expect Charlo to beat easily.

Charlo is expected to breeze through this fight.

More Headlines

What is next for Vasyl Lomachenko?


By: Waquas Ali

One of boxing’s greatest talents in the modern era, Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1) has been acclaimed for his boxing skills and achievements ever since he turned pro.

From being a two-time Olympic gold medallist to winning his first world title in only in his third professional bout and to beating one of also boxing’s best and also a two-time Olympic champion Guillermo Rigondeaux.

Rigondeaux (17-1) is Lomachenko’s fourth consecutive opponent to quit on his stool and was his first loss since his amateur days.

After outboxing the Cuban in six rounds, the question now arises for Lomachenko is what next for him and what compatibility do the next fighter hold against him?

According to a survey poll conducted by Lomachenko on Twitter, he asked his followers with the options given on who he should fight next.

Out of 32,000 plus voters, 44% of them picked Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) and 39% picked Gervonta Davis (19-0, 18 KOs).

Those two in particular are without a doubt one of the best fighters in their respected weight classes. However, Davis himself fights at the super-featherweight division which is the exact same division that Lomachenko fights.

Back in February of this year, Davis was asked the question about fighting the Ukrainian by IFL TV and he stated that at the time it wasn’t the right move but “in the future, yes.”

Ten months later, the former IBF super-featherweight champion is now being talked about with Lomachenko and over 12,000 voters of Lomachenko’s followers want to see them fight.

In terms of styles and techniques, Davis also known as Tank has huge extensive and loads up wild combinations that dazzle his opponents. His most notable punch is the left to the head whilst countering on the inside.

Davis is also more of an accurate puncher and then starts to increase his activity level when he has his opponent in trouble, Lomachenko on the other hand tends to unload with great and consistent jabbing to the head and body.

Davis’ footwork isn’t quite unique as a Lomachenko’s is and doesn’t utilise any threat along with the stance of being southpaw – considering the fact that Lomachenko is also a southpaw.

Davis (5 feet 5 inches tall with a 67 inch reach) has a two inch reach advantage whilst Lomachenko (five feet 7 inches tall with a 65inch reach) has a two inch height advantage.

The second person as mentioned in the poll is three-weight world champion Mikey Garcia.

The 30-year-old has a variety of factors that back his resume up. He has a good leading jab that even leads to countering effectively and has caused a couple of opponents to be dropped with the jab. Garcia’s power also comes in great strength and he’s able to use his power punches really well.

According to CompuBox statistics review, Garcia was shown to have landed an average connect percentage of 43% of his power punches.

Both fighters however are in the top three as being hit with the least amount of punches in terms of connect percentage.

Garcia’s average opponent connect percentage stands at just 17% and Lomachenko’s opponent average is 16%, who is number one the list.

All these factors and stats could come in to place, should these fighters meet but they are just some of things to point out of these fighters.

More Columns

The Rigondeaux Blues: Reflections on a Lonely Sport


by B.A. Cass

I woke up on Sunday feeling the weight of Rigondeaux’s loss in a way I hadn’t anticipated, a feeling that stuck with me all day.

Although I was rooting for him, I had prepared myself for the possibility that Rigondeaux would lose. After all, I told myself, he’s moving up two weight classes, he’s a good deal older than Lomachenko, and he has been fairly inactive over the past few years. It was quite plausible that he would be overwhelmed by his opponent. I was prepared for a stoppage by the referee or even a KO.

Of course, I also envisioned Rigondeaux winning. He is perhaps the most patient boxer of his generation, perhaps of all time, and patience combined with elite skill can be a very unsettling thing for any opponent, even someone as remarkably talented as Lomachenko. It wasn’t hard to imagine Rigondeaux making Lomachenko’s ring theatrics look like the diversionary tactics of a glorified amateur without much punching power.

I had prepared myself for all scenarios, except for the one that occurred.

What occurred to me, though, as I struggled through the morass that became my Sunday is that there are important differences between team sports and sports like boxing. Basketball, football, and soccer—fans of these sports may place their hopes on one player, but ultimately, they’re rooting for a whole team. But with boxing, or for that matter with sports like tennis and golf, fans are not rooting for a group of people to win. It is stating the obvious to say that in boxing, fans are rooting for one person, but the point can’t be emphasized enough.

Fans of most sports come together in large stadiums or in crowded bars to watch their respective competitive events. Boxing fans are no exception: 90,000 fans were at Wembley Stadium to see Anthony Joshua defeat Wladimir Klitschko; 12,000 fans attended Madison Square Garden to see Sadam Ali score an unexpected victory over Miguel Cotto; and 5,000 people attended the Theater at MSG this weekend to see the dull, uneventful fight between Lomachenko and Rigondeaux.

Yet even though boxing fans pack stadiums and event halls, boxing remains an intensely individual sport. As spectators, we become so attached to a fighter that even if others are rooting for the same individual, we do not see ourselves as part of a group of fans. We are individuals rooting individually for a single man or woman to win. And if that person loses, we must face that defeat in a very lonely way.

There’s also a distinction that needs to be drawn between sports like golf and tennis and the sport of boxing. Golf and tennis are invented games. The former involves people swinging metal clubs at a little ball that they’re trying to put into a hole in the earth. The latter involves using a weaved apparatus to hit a fuzzy medium-sized ball over a net and at such an angle and with so much speed that the opponent cannot slam it back over the net.

Boxing is not so much an invented game as it is brutality harnessed. Boxing makes sport of humanity’s inclination for violence, an inclination which has been around since our species has walked this planet. That is why many people understandably find the sport too horrific to watch.

At Wimbledon this past year, the Croatian tennis player Marin Cilic was brought to tears by a blister. I’m sure he was in pain. But the fact that he had to call a timeout so that he could cry into his shirt underscored for me how little pain most athletes are used to putting up with. More than any other sport, boxing tests one’s ability to endure insurmountable pain. Football players sustain long-term injuries, but even football cannot compete with the intensity and brutality that is required of fighters who battle each other at close range. It is one thing to get tackled; it’s another thing to exchange blows and get rocked with punches for twelve rounds, or for any number of rounds for that matter. It is for this reason that we do not use the word “game” when referring to a boxing match. We call them “fights.” There’s too much at stake to consider boxing a form of play.

Boxing touches on something far more basic and integral to human experience than any other sport—we watch boxing to see fighters, particularly in loss, survive. Orlando Salido, who incidentally is the only man to have beat Lomachenko in a professional bout, retired this weekend after being dominated by Miguel Roman for the better part of nine rounds. Salido lost, but we saw in him the will to continue. If the referee hadn’t stopped the fight, he would have no doubt kept going, kept fighting. Yes, he lost, but he also survived—and with our respect for him intact. Cotto lost too, but he fought to the end with an injured bicep.

With Rigondeaux it was different. He just gave up, apparently because of a hand injury. It might seem the smart move for a man to give up when injured, but in the sport of boxing giving up in such a manner approaches nihilism. After all, boxing is a sport not simply replete with injury, but a sport that practically requires injury. Certainly, Rigondeaux had fought while injured before—and if he hadn’t, as remarkable as that may seem to us, he must have known he would one day get injured during a fight.

Why did Rigondeaux choose not to get off his stool after the sixth round in the biggest fight of his life? He’s been through so much in his life—surely this was not his toughest moment.

After a failed attempt to defect from communist Cuba, Rigondeaux finally made it to the US where he had a promising, potentially lucrative professional boxing career to look forward to. That didn’t quite materialize. His first promoter, Bob Arum, seemed to work against him at times and they eventually parted ways. Since then, Rigondeaux has failed to elicit much public support, and he had resort to selling his two Olympic medals to feed his family. Perhaps Rigondeaux has had his hopes stalled and halted so many times that he has ceased to care much about anything anymore, even his own career.

And so, it wasn’t Rigondeaux’s loss that especially affected me—it was seeing him give up for no good reason, it was realizing that the man sitting on the stool had lost interest in the very thing that he had worked so hard to achieve.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch

More Columns

​Rigondeaux Ends Historic Fight on his Stool; Lomachenko’s Legend Grows


​By: Eric Lunger

​Last night in the Theatre of Madison Square Garden, the world’s two most decorated amateur boxers met in an historic clash: two two-time Olympic gold medalists clashed in the professional boxing ring for the WBO World super featherweight title. Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs), the brilliant and unique stylist from Ukraine, took on Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs), the troubled Cuban exile whose defensive skills, while legendary, have earned him enmity and scorn from a significant portion of the boxing public.

​Despite moving up two weight classes, the undefeated Rigondeaux hoped to match Lomachenko’s unworldly skills, and perhaps pull off the unthinkable – a defeat, a stoppage even, via the Cuban’s fearsome overhand left. There were other possible outcomes, of course, and much more likely ones. Loma, younger and naturally heavier, would dominate the Cuban and knock him out. Or, Rigondeaux, having promised to come forward and attack, would lose on knock downs and a number of 10-8 rounds. Or, less likely, maybe Rigondeaux, with his hand- speed and counter punching still sharp, would finally be the one to solve the “Hi Tech” attack.

​But none of these outcomes were to be. The first round was a chess match, the type of fight the Cuban wanted: slow and cautious, a feeling out, and a few surgical punches here and there to score points. I even thought that Rigo landed a few flashier shots, and just nipped the round, 10-9. Even in the second, Rigondeaux was staying in the center of the ring, something I did not expect to see. But in this round, Lomachenko began to let his hands go in a probing, testing way. Rigo’s reaction was to duck and hold, an odd tactic, to be sure, especially against a puncher of Lomachenko’s accuracy

​By the third, the Cuban was consistently holding, and his defense of ducking very low was obviously going to get him in trouble, as the Ukrainian sharpshooter began to get the timing and range of that move. Significantly, Rigondeaux threw no lefts. In fact, I commented to a writer sitting next to me that the Cuban had not thrown his left in almost two rounds. But then, I thought, this is not necessarily out of character for Rigo, as he will hold and hold the left, wait and wait, until he can fire it. It didn’t even cross my mind that Rigondeaux had injured it.

​By the fourth round, Lomachenko was taking over with supreme confidence, feinting, digging to the body, controlling the tempo and pace. The last minute of the round was typical “Hi Tech:” odd angles, throwing multiple combinations, appearing at strange places in the ring, throwing multiple uppercuts, and then hooks from unexpected angles. And that was it, really. The fight was becoming a Lomachenko masterclass. For fans of the Cuban champ, the fifth and sixth rounds were tough to watch: he was tentative and confused, resorting to holding at all opportunities. His frustration boiled over as he hit out of the break, earning an irate roar from the pro-Ukrainian crowd.

​And then came the stoppage in the corner. The reaction in the theatre was a deafening combination of bewilderment, jubilation, frustration, and disappointment. And in the midst of all the confusion, there was Rigo, sitting hunched over on his stool, totally alone in that crowded ring, with a look of complete defeat on his face. I could not help feeling that, out of all the possible outcomes for this historic fight, this was the saddest. I hope the hand injury is the real reason for his throwing in the towel. It is too sad to contemplate that Lomachenko broke his will to fight, and that the Cuban super bantamweight, who has overcome so many obstacles in life and in the ring, ended his career (and let’s face it – we probably will not see him in the ring again) sitting on a stool, the object of derision from the crowd and the whole boxing world.

More Columns

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Lomachenko Outclasses Rigondeaux, Stevenson, Conlan, Jennings, and Diaz Win


By: William Holmes

The Theatre at the Madison Square Garden was the host site for tonight’s highly anticipated WBO Super Featherweight World Title fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux. Both Lomachenko and Rigondeaux had outstanding amateur careers winning two gold medals each.

Some of Top Rank’s most coveted boxers were featured on the undercard, including Michael Conlan, Shakur Stevenson, and former heavyweight title contender Bryant Jennings.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing

The opening bout of the night was between Shakur Stevenson (4-0) and Oscar Mendoza (4-2) in the featherweight division.

Shakur Stevenson looked levels beyond Oscar Mendoza and warmed up quickly and was landing crisp combinations within the first minute of the fight. Mendoza was able to offer little in return but cover up.

Stevenson opened up the second round with hard combination that sent Mendoza falling backwards into the rope. He followed that up with some punishing body shots. Stevenson continued to obliterate Mendoza until the referee, Sparkle Lee, stepped in to stop the fight.

The stoppage may have been premature, but Mendoza was clearly outclassed

Shakur Stevenson wins by TKO at 1:38 of the second round.

The next bout of the night was between Christopher Diaz (21-0) and Bryant Cruz (18-2) in the Super Featherweight division.

Cruz was the first to land with a quick jab but Diaz was able to land the combinations and crisper counters. A straight right hand by Diaz sent Cruz to his butt in the first, but Cruz was able to get back to his feet and survive the first.

Cruz looked recovered by the start of the second round and was sharp with his jab. Diaz however landed a left hook that may have clipped behind Cruz’s head that made his legs wobbly and sent him to the mat again. Diaz was knocked down a second time in the second round with a straight right hand that forced Diaz to take a knee to take time to recover.

Diaz jumped right on Cruz in the third round and had him wobbly and sent him to the mat for the fourth time in the night. This time the referee decided to stop the fight.

Christopher Diaz wins by TKO at 0:37 of the third round.

The next fight of the night was a featherweight fight between Luis Molina (4-3-1) and Michael Conlan (4-0).

Conlan, an Irish Olympian, was levels above Luis Molina and was landing a good jab to the body and head in the first two rounds of the fight. Conlan fought with his hands low throughout the fight and by the fourth land had landed eighty punches in comparison to the twenty that Molina landed.

Conlan was able to stagger Molina in the fifth round with a good left hook and was able to do some damage with left uppercuts.

By the end of the fight Conlan had out landed Molina 128-31. All three judges scored the bout 60-54 for Michael Conlan.

The main event of the night was between Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1) and Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0) for the WBO Super Featherweight Title.

The crowd could be heard chanting for Lomachenko during the referee instructions. Lomachenko had about a seven-pound weight advantage at the unofficial weigh ins before the fight.

Rigondeaux opened up the first round with a good two punch combination, but Lomachenko pressed the action more and was constantly looking for openings to land his jab.

Lomachenko was finding angles to land on Rigondeaux in the second round and had a sharp right hook. Rigondeaux was holding a lot in the second round and that holding continued throughout the fight. Rigondeaux consistently ducked low to try and avoid the punches of Lomachenko, but Lomachenko was able to find his target and dance around Rigondeaux.

The right uppercut from Lomachenko did some damage in the third round and the referee warned Rigondeaux again to not hold. Lomachenko was toying with Rigondeaux in the fourth round and Rigondeaux was beginning to look frustrated.

Lomachenko walked Rigondeaux down in the fifth round and Rigondeaux was showing his frustration by punching Lomachenko during a break. Lomachenko’s confidence only continued to grow into the sixth round as he dazzled the fans with his footwork and accurate counters.

Rigondeaux lost a point in the sixth round for holding, but he was losing every exchange when he was not holding his opponent. When Rigondeaux went to his corner before the start of the seventh he told his corner his hand was injured and that he could not continue.

Vasyl Lomachenko wins by TKO at the end of round six due to Guillermo Rigondeaux not being able to come out for the seventh due to an injured hand.

More Headlines

Did Guillermo Rigondeaux Make a Mistake Fighting Vasyl Lomachenko?


By: Ken Hissner

Two of the greatest amateur boxers in the history of amateur boxing will meet December 9th at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York City.

WBO World Super featherweight champion from the Ukraine Vasyl “High-Tech” Lomachenko, 9-1 (7), defends his title against the WBA & WBO Super World Bantamweight champion Cuban Guillermo “The Jackal” Rigondeaux, 17-0 (11). Both boxers are 2-time Olympic Gold Medalists.

The 37 year-old Rigondeaux was 463-12 in the amateurs winning Olympic Gold in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. The 29 year-old Lomachenko on the other hand was a reported 396-1 winning Gold in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Both are southpaws.

In Rigondeaux’s last fight in June of 2017 it appeared he knocked out Moises Flores. It would later be changed to a No Contest after review that he hit Flores “after the bell” ended the round.

Rigondeaux will be jumping two weight divisions to challenge for Lomachenko’s title. This could be a major factor in the outcome of the match. He’s also only fought once a year in 2015, 2016 and so far in 2017. Lomachenko has fought twice a year in 2015, 2016 and so far in 2017. He went from being the WBO World Featherweight champion to winning the Super featherweight title.

“I am promising to squash him,” said Lomachenko. “It is going to be a massacre,” said Rigondeaux.

This writer has challenged fellow Philadelphia writer/lawyer from Jamaica George Hanson to a “dinner bet” picking Lomachenko while he picked Rigondeaux.

More Columns

Guillermo Rigondeaux Against All Odds


By: Kirk Jackson

It’s a great time to be a boxing fan as we steadily approach a legendary fantasy match-up, comprised of elite pound-for-pound talent featuring the likes of Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs, 1 NC) and Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs).

To quote active boxing legend and HBO boxing analyst Roy Jones, “That’s the best paper made fight ever.”

“You can’t find two fighters better on paper to put against each other. That’s the best fight I ever seen made on paper, and I can’t wait,” said Jones.

This classic encounter should be dubbed as “clash of the titans,” as these participants are arguably the greatest amateur boxers to ever grace the earth.

Their success as world renowned amateurs transcended towards professional ranks and they are regarded as the best boxers pound-for-pound.

Although each fighter possesses numerous accolades, accomplishments, high marks of merit, each fighter traveled a different path and are regarded in different manners.

Albeit there appears to be a preference for the Ukrainian born star by many publications and members of the media. Lomachenko is the favorite in Las Vegas as well, as the defending WBO super featherweight champion is more than a 3-1 favorite over Rigondeaux.

Some pundits regard Lomachenko as the absolute best fighter pound-for-pound; over Rigondeaux, Gennady Golovkin, Saul Alvarez, Keith Thurman, Terence Crawford and even over the recently retired, undefeated, Andre Ward while he was active.

The abilities of Lomachenko are extraordinary and assortment of skills is a sight many observers marvel at; his fluid punch combinations, the dancing of feet enabling him to move in and out, side to side seamlessly and even around opponents. He presents several angles and looks creating havoc and making it nearly impossible for opponents to consistently capitalize on. Lomachenko lives up to his nickname “Hi-Tech.”

His resume isn’t bad considering the lack of fights, which is an anomaly in itself regarding his status and claim to the mythical pound-for-pound throne because typically the no. 1 pound-for-pound fighter has more bouts under his/her belt and possesses a more thoroughly defined resume.

And for Lomachenko’s efforts, he constantly mentions the desire to fight the best opposition.

“My goal is to be the best fighter in the world. Being on ESPN means many more people are going to see this fight and to see what I am all about,” said Lomachenko in an interview with ESPN.

“My goal is to continue to fight the best fighters and move up the pound-for-pound list.”

For Rigondeaux, the grass isn’t as green even though he is just as eager to test his skills against the best opposition.

There’s a small contingent of supporters comprised of hardcore boxing fanatics, mixed with a few writers and reporters with an appreciation of Rigondeaux’s defensive mastery.

But of course he has detractors; ranging from HBO commentator Jim Lampley, former promoter Bob Arum, to ESPN reporter Dan Rafael.

Rafael flat out called Rigondeaux boring on numerous occasions, while Arum was quoted saying, “When Rigondeaux stands and fights, the [expletive] has a lot of power and a lot of skill, but running the way he does really makes it not a watchable fight.”

Prominent members of the media and the fighter’s own promoter at the time was against him. Rigondeaux couldn’t even secure a fight on the HBO network.

He travelled to Japan, defended his titles against Hisashi Amagasa and the fight broadcasted across Japanese airwaves.

Because of his skill set, Rigondeaux was avoided by virtually any elite fighter neighboring his weight class.

The former Top Rank fighter was even black-balled by that promotional company and subsequently by the network (HBO) working with the promotional company after he educated one of their prized pupils (Nonito Donaire) in a masterful boxing lesson.

It seems instead of the prestige and influx of compliments one would earn for defeating a top pound-for-pound fighter, “El Chacal” was penalized with derogatory rhetoric and labeled as boring.

Historically, defensive wizards are hardly appreciated especially by the average spectator. And that’s to be anticipated, as the casual viewer typically tunes in to watch punches fly, back and forth action with defense nonexistent.

But the practitioners and hard core admirers of the sweet science can appreciate the majestic wizardry.

It appears though, many of these very same pundits in love with Lomachenko, penalize Rigondeaux for his approach and style of fighting in spite of his accomplishments and technical prowess.

Without criticizing any of the fighters, it’s fair to suggest double standards in play.

The same people listing Lomachenko or Gennady Golovkin as the “Most avoided” may certainly facilitate the same arguments for Rigondeaux and fighters like Erislandy Lara for instance.

Each fighter has an argument for the level of avoidance. Who wants to be embarrassed by someone as skilled as Lomachenko or Rigondeaux?
Facing a fighter like Lara, more than likely the opponent will swing at air and eat counter-punches in the process for the duration of the bout.

Aside from five opponents out of thirty-eight to date, Golovkin punishes and virtually knocks everyone out.

But because of the aesthetic effect and what the audience it narrated to as what is pleasing or the way to fight, certain styles (i.e. Lara and Rigondeaux) are not appreciated.

There’s an argument other issues are at play though. Skin complexion and stereo-types play a factor as well.

What’s interesting, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder endures similar scrutiny, although he is avoided for the very reason fighters avoid Golovkin. But the same standards do not apply of course.

One underlying factor all the aforementioned fighters share in common as to why they are avoided is simple; it’s the money.

It’s a matter of weighing risk vs. reward. If opponents are not offered legitimate fight purses to take the challenge, why risk taking the fight?

Risk vs. reward plagued Rigondeaux his entire career. Lack of willing opponents, lack of big names, fame and fortune that comes with it.
Securing the right fights so he can continue to show the world what he can do – similar to his display against Donaire.

Rigondeaux’s battles are in abundance; whether against the media, promotors and opponents in and out the ring.

His pain and struggle, in which fuels his desire and need for greatness. It’s the driving force behind his desperation to be great.

And the stakes will be high this weekend, because staring at him in the other corner is another fighter great in his own right, seeking to crush his dreams and plant his flag of pound-for-pound supremacy.

In which spectators will witness between the two gladiators; a battle of foot work and distance, a battle of intelligence and adjustments – even as subtle as the hand placement for each fighter.

Can Lomachenko utilize his weight advantage, height advantage, youth, angles and intelligence to outslick the tactical assassin Rigondeaux?

This video provides a great scientific breakdown of the match-up.

https://youtu.be/Q6da8isBQJQ

Although Rigondeaux is 37-years-old, fought a total of three rounds in the past two years and moved up two weight classes to challenge one of the best boxers in the world, he remains fairly confident.

The confident Cuban southpaw promised to defeat Lomachenko when they square off Saturday night in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
“We trained well and we’re 100 percent,” Rigondeaux said. “We had a great training camp. We always train hard for every opponent.”
Although known as one of the best defensive fighters in boxing, its uncertain the approach Rigondeaux will take in this scheduled 12-round.

Speed, flexibility and reflexes tend to slip each day a fighter ages. There’s a possibility Rigondeaux may opt for a more offensive approach but this all depends on what Lomachenko does as well.

“Each opponent is different and I adapt to each opponent,” Rigondeaux said. “Sometimes it takes more offense, sometimes it takes more defense. We adjust as we’re in the ring.”

As we approach fight time, questions remain as to who will win the fight and what’s at stake for each fighter?

Both intend to further enhance their legacy; adding victory to cement who truly is the best.

Lomachenko wants to cement his status at the best active fighter. There are plans for an ascension towards the lightweight division, but he must clear one last road block before venturing forth.

For Rigondeaux, worldwide acclaim and the riches eluded this warrior for most of his professional career. Escaping Cuba and finding success is another series of battles fought and won by the determined fighter.

Rigondeaux is against the odds and aims to prevail yet again.

More Columns

Top Rank on ESPN Preview: Diaz vs. Cruz, Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux


By: William Holmes

On Saturday night two of the world’s best pound for pound boxers and most accomplished amateur stars will face off against each other at the Madison Square Garden Theatre in New York City.

The bout is such a big deal that the International Boxing Hall of Fame has already asked for the gloves of both contestants to enshrine.


Photo Credit: Mikey Williams and Top Rank Boxing

Guillermo Rigondeaux and Vasyl Lomachenko will meet in the main event of the night for the WBO Super Featherweight Title. The co-main event will be between Christopher Diaz and Bryant Cruz for the WBO NABO Super Featherweight Title.

Several of Top Rank’s high level prospects will be featured on the undercard, including Michael Conlan, Shakur Stevenson, and former heavyweight title contender Bryant Jennings.

The following is a preview of the two main fights on Saturday’s card.

Christopher Diaz (21-0) vs. Bryant Cruz (18-2); NABO WBO Super Featherweight Title

The opening bout of the night will be between Christopher Diaz and Bryant Cruz for the NABO/WBO Super Featherweight Title.

Christopher Diaz will have a five year age advantage on Diaz as he is only twenty three years old. He will also have about an inch height advantage and a four inch reach advantage.

Diaz also has the edge in power over Cruz. He has thirteen knockout victories while Cruz only has nine. Two of Bryant Cruz’s losses were by stoppage so his chin is also questionable.

Christopher Diaz has been very active the past two years. He fought twice already in 2017 and fought five times in 2016. Cruz has only fought once in 2016 but did fight twice in 2017.

The one area where Bryant Cruz appears to have an edge is in amateur experience. Cruz was a runner up in the National Golden Gloves.

Neither boxer has defeated great competition yet. Cruz has defeated noted veterans Angel Luna and Jonathan Perez, while Diaz has defeated the likes of Efrain Esquivias, Neftali Campos, and Ray Ximenez.

This is small step up for Diaz but Cruz shouldn’t present too much of a problem from Diaz to handle.

Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1) vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0); WBO World Super Featherweight Title

The main event of the evening is between two of the world’s best amateur boxers of all time.

Vasyl Lomachenko is a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and won the gold for the Ukraine in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. Guillermo Rigondeaux is also a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and won the gold medal in the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics.

Lomachenko will have a major edge in age as he is only twenty nine years old and is in the midst of his prime. Age may be a factor for Rigondeaux as he is thirty seven years old.

Even though Rigondeaux is thirty seven, this is a fight he’s been waiting for a long time. He stated at a recent press conference, “I’m very happy that everything has been put in place. I started on ESPN so I am very happy that this fight is taking place there and I would like to thank Roc Nation and Top Rank for putting it together. I have been anticipating this fight for a long time and now everything is concrete and the fight is on its way.”

Size will also be a factor as Lomachenko will have a two inch height advantage and has been fighting at a heavier weight. Rigondeaux will have a two and half inch reach advantage, but he is bumping up two weight classes to face Lomachenko.

Lomachenko has kept a fairly busy schedule and fought twice in 2016 and twice in 2017. Rigondeaux has not been as active and only fought once in 2017, 2016, and in 2015.

Lomachenko has a better knockout percentage rate. He has stopped seven of his opponents in only ten fights. Rigondeaux has stopped eleven of his opponents in seventeen fights.

Both boxers have challenged themselves from the start of their professional career. Guillermo Rigondeaux has defeated the likes of James Dickens, Drian Francisco., Hisashi Amagasa, Anusorn Yotjan, Joseph Agbeko, Nonito Donaire, Roberto Marroquin, Teon Kennedy, Rico Ramos, Willie Casey, Ricardo Cordoba. His lone blemish was a no contest with Moises Flores, a fight where he was clearly the superior boxers.

Vasyl Lomachenko’s lone blemish was a tough loss to the rugged Orlando Salido in only his second professional fight. He has defeated the likes of Miguel Marriaga, Jason Sosa, Nicholas Walters, Roman Martinez, Gary Russell Jr., and Jose Ramirez.

This fight would have been a better fight if it was made in 2015 in the featherweight division. But Rigondeaux has been relatively inactive the past few years, is starting to push to the age of 40, and has to bump up two divisions to face the ultra talented Vasyl Lomachenko.

It will be a fascinating chess match to watch the first half of the fight, but Lomachenko’s youth and size difference should be enough to help him win a close decision victory.

It’s a fight that Lomachenko expects to win easily. He expressed his confidence by stating, “I said I am going to walk through him like a tank. They are two different things. I am going to walk through him like a tank and knock him out. They are two different impressions. I am like every single fighter – going into the ring I have in my mind ‘finish the bout before all the rounds are over and to get the victory before that. There is a good possibility that the fight will end before the twelfth round. I am not promising to knock him out but I am promising to squash him.”

More Headlines

Back to the Future: Can Rigondeaux Play Spoiler Again?



By: Eric Lunger

​In early April 2013, it looked like things were finally going well for the supremely talented Guillermo Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and one of the finest products of the vaunted Cuban boxing program. He had a solid three-year contract with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions, and HBO appeared to be on board as well, with on-air personalities Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman as vocal supporters of the Cuban southpaw’s style.

​Rigondeaux had defected from his native land – he was once Fidel Castro’s favorite boxer– in 2009, leaving close family behind in order to pursue a professional career in the United States. Unable to speak English, feared as an opponent, and seemingly unable to generate ticket sales, Rigondeaux’s dreams of making it big in the US were fading away.

​But when he signed with Top Rank in July of 2012, the Cuban phenom quickly moved into contention at super bantamweight, and then captured the WBA World title by stopping Rico Ramos in the sixth round in January of 2012. Then came a chance at unification: a bout with Top Rank stablemate Nonito Donaire, the WBO champion and then number five pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

​Rigondeaux boxed in his normal style, but he tagged the “Filipino Flash” with some brutal shots, and in fact hurt Donaire in the twelfth, forcing him to finish the fight with this right glove protecting his right eye. Donaire was eloquent and gracious in defeat, but Ridgondeaux’s footwork and evasive tactics soured Arum: “When Rigondeaux stands and fights, the [expletive] has a lot of power and a lot of skill, but running the way he does really makes it not a watchable fight,” Arum was quoted as saying in the aftermath.

​Rather than being the culmination of his career, the Donaire win was for the Cuban Champion the beginning of a slide into irrelevance and then out-right avoidance. Rigondeaux fought twice more on Top Rank cards, once in Atlantic City (in a defensive snoozer), and then in a non-televised bout in Macau. After that, he became the most avoided man in boxing, and thus it is all the more remarkable that Arum is putting Lomachenko (arguably his most financially-attractive fighter) in the ring against the enigmatic Rigondeaux.

​In the run-up to Saturday night, Rigondeaux has played the part on social media of the outcast and the underdog, whose victory will be all the sweeter should he pull the upset — and given Lomachenko’s advantage in age and weight, a Rigondeaux victory would be a big upset. No question that Rigondeaux is a polarizing figure in the sport. To some, he is a boring, defense-first fighter, who stockpiles points in early rounds, and then goes into cruise control. Others see him as the epitome of pure boxing skill, a practitioner of the high art of “hit and don’t be hit.”

​Saturday night on ESPN, a free broadcast immediately after the Heisman Trophy award show: what bigger stage could Rigondeaux hope for at this point in his career? And one has to imagine there a voice, however faint, in the back of Bob Arum’s mind: have I made a mistake? Can the diminutive Cuban possibly pull another Donaire-like demolition of Top Rank’s Ukrainian Wunderkind?

More Columns

Michael Conlan Returns to MSG Theatre on Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux Undercard


By Eric Lunger

​Former Olympian Michael “Mick” Conlan of Belfast, Ireland, returns to Madison Square Garden on Saturday night to take on Luis Fernando Molina (7-3-1, 2 KOs) of Argentina in a six-round featherweight bout on the undercard of the much-anticipated Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux Top Rank on ESPN event.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account

​Conlan (4-0, 4 KOs) first rose to international prominence in the 2016 Rio Olympics where he was blatantly robbed of a decision in a quarterfinal bout against Vladimir Nikitin of Russia. Conlan let the judges know exactly how he felt; the image of him standing in the middle of the ring, flashing the double bird in his hand wraps to the judges, sums up the ineptitude (to be charitable) of the judging in the Rio tournament. His tirade in the aftermath of the decision was likewise memorable. Not content to let matters rest there, Conlan even sent a tweet to Russian President Vladimir Putin, “How much did they charge you, Bro???” Putin has been called a lot of things, but probably never “bro.”

​Whatever the state of international judging, Conlan, age 26, quickly signed a professional contract with Top Rank and made his debut at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden, on St. Patrick’s Day 2017, defeating Tim Ibarra by a third-round TKO and sending the Irish fans into a frenzy. In his last outing in August, Conlan scored a dramatic second-round knockout win over Kenny Guzman, showing significant improvement in form over the Ibarra fight.

​Conlan grew up in the Catholic districts of West Belfast, a tough area still struggling to put the effects of the bloody and bitter “Troubles” (as the civil strife between Unionists and Republicans was known) behind them. Like kids on other mean streets, boxing for Mick Conlan was a way to a better life, a channel for energy that might otherwise have been ill-spent. He wears his pride in his roots on his sleeve, but he equally proud of where boxing has taken him. Trained from his amateur days by his father, Mick moved to the US and currently lives and trains in southern California under the guidance of veteran trainer Manny Robles.

​Stylistically, Conlan likes to be on his front foot. Fighting out of an orthodox stance, he can jab effectively to the body and the head; in fact, he likes the jab to the chest to set up the overhand right. His left hook, though, is also an effective weapon to the rib cage or as a lead to the head. In short, he possesses a professional offensive tool kit. Defensively, Conlan relies on a combination to head movement, body lean, and quick in-and-out footwork. He also possesses a bit of the showman streak in the ring, switching to a southpaw stance in order to confuse an opponent, to open the fight up, or just be entertaining. But the southpaw work has become more than show: after the win over Jarrett Owen in Australia in July, Robles confirmed that the southpaw offense was something they had been intentionally drilling in the gym.

​Is Mick Conlan ready for the top names in the division? No, and no one should expect him to be. He has a deep amateur background, but he has plenty of areas to develop first, especially in tightening up his hooks and polishing his defensive skills. Will he be a contender down the road? Almost certainly, as long as he continues to be brought along carefully. Saturday night should be another step, and, judging from his previous bouts, it will definitely be entertaining.

More Headlines

The Misrepresentation featuring Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux


The Misrepresentation featuring Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux
By: Kirk Jackson

Vasyl Lomachenko 8-1 (6 KO’s) is considered by many pundits as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport and is in an odd position.

A fighter with less than 10 fights to be considered by many observers at the very worse, top five pound-for-pound is quite unique.

Lomachenko_RussellJr_140621_007a

^ I personally have Andre Ward clearly ranked at No. 1, followed by Terence Crawford, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman or Roman Gonzalez.

Lomachenko’s assortment of skills is a sight many observers marvel at; his fluid punch combinations, the flickering of his feet with how he seamlessly moves in, out and around opponents, the various angles and looks that make it nearly impossible for opponents to capitalize on, Lomachenko lives up to his moniker “Hi-Tech.”

With Lomachenko’s short stint as a professional, he boasts a pretty decent resume for the small amount of fights.

Wins against Nicholas Walters and Gary Russell Jr. no matter the circumstances will look good on anyone’s resume.
I wouldn’t hold his last fight versus Jason Sosa 20-2-4 (15 KO’s) against him, as I believe that was set-up as a showcase fight, in effort to build towards a greater fight in the immediate aftermath. But it appears I was wrong with that assessment.

Lomachenko is scheduled to face Miguel Marriaga 25-2 (21 KO’s) August 5th at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, California.

Wait what?

Fighting Marriaga does not suggest willingness to fight the best per say. For one, Marriaga is not even ranked
within the top 15 of the junior lightweight division.

He is ranked 27th according to Boxrec which is fitting because you have to resort to Boxrec just to figure who Marriaga is.

Marriaga is also coming off a sound defeat against Oscar Valdez via unanimous decision.

The interesting thing, Lomachenko and his supporters (mainly HBO’s Jim Lampley) claim Lomachenko is avoided by everyone virtually between 126 through 135 lbs.

Lomachenko and his handlers claim the same.

However, aside from Russell wanting a rematch with Lomachenko, there is one fighter in particular adamant on facing the Ukrainian star. Another pound-for-pound fighter, often overlooked, Guillermo Rigondeaux 17-0 (11 KO’s).

Rigondeaux is overlooked and often disrespected by many prestigious members of the media. Therefore, there is a clear misrepresentation of the Cuban and his accomplishments.

The question is why?

Along with Lomachenko, Rigondeaux is arguably the most accomplished amateur fighter of all-time. Winning two Olympic gold medals, winning over 400 fights, Rigondeaux is a seven-time Cuban national champion at bantamweight (2000–2006), finishing his amateur career with a record of nearly 475 fights with 12 losses.

The misused and overused rhetoric regarding Rigondeaux is he is “Boring” and isn’t a big draw. Comparatively speaking, these sentiments can be regarded as false.

Rigondeaux has his detractors, HBO commentatorJim Lampley, former promoter Bob Arum, to ESPN writer Dan Rafael.
Rafael flat out called Rigondeaux boring on numerous occasions, while Arum has been quoted saying, “When Rigondeaux stands and fights, the [expletive] has a lot of power and a lot of skill, but running the way he does really makes it not a watchable fight.”

The more accurate reality is Rigondeaux is suffering from being blackballed within the industry.

A small example:

The height of Rigondeaux’s fame was when he dominated Nonito Donaire, at the time regarded as the top guy pound-for-pound.

Why is it, after such a great accomplishment with the unifying of titles, and brilliant performance of defeating a top pound-for-pound fighter, the victor was less promoted than he was before prior to that fight?
It’s as though he was penalized for being that good.

Around that time, circa 2013, Rigondeaux headlined another event on HBO to close out the year. For some odd reason there was a lack of promotion, even though Rigondeaux was fighting a former champion and highly qualified contender, Joseph Agbeko.

That same day rival network Showtime was airing the heavily promoted bout PaulieMalignaggivsZab Judah at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York.

There were subsequent fights on both networks and here are the numbers as follows; these numbers are based off a Jake Donovan article on www.boxingscene.com.

Highest to Lowest:
Kirkland-Tapia, HBO, 718,000
PaulieMalignaggi – Zab Judah, Showtime, 640,000
Rigondeaux- Agbeko, HBO, 550,000
Devon Alexander- Shawn Porter, Showtime, 515,000
SakioBika- Anthony Dirrell, Showtime, 446,000
Erislandy Lara- Austin Trout, Showtime, 429,000
Matthew Macklin-Lamar Russ, HBO, 401,000

It can be argued when these two opposing networks (HBO and Showtime) go head to head they lose a significant amount of viewers.

Rigondeaux’s fight was in direct competition with a fight that was actually promoted and didn’t do too bad.
If Rigondeaux vs. Agbeko aired on a night where the opposing network was not showing any boxing events, the numbers may have increased substantially.

We compare those numbers to Lomachenko’s last airing, there was an average of 832,000 viewers who watched Lomachenko defend his WBO world super featherweight title against Sosa in the main event of HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader.

An event featuring another Ukrainian star, WBO cruiserweight champion AleksandrUsyk (12-0, 10 KO’s) and talented light heavyweight contender OleksandrGvozdyk (13-0, 11 KO’s).

With everything considered, promotion vs. no promotion, Lomachenko and Rigondeaux are in the same ball park.

Again why is there praise for one (Lomachenko) and disdain for another (Rigondeaux)? Why can’t there be room to praise both talents? By praising both, it’s how we continue to appreciate and build the sport as opposed to continually tear it down.

Also very important, why hasn’t this fight been made?

This can be an interesting match-up of talents featuring two legendary amateur fighters.

Rigondeaux uses an unique skill-set, possesses power in both hands and based on his social media handles (Twitter, Instagram) appears willing to fight the best as well.

The same can be obviously echoed for Lomachenko.

Perhaps it is the former promoter of Rigondeaux and current promoter of Lomachenko who does notnot want the fight to come into fruition?

Arguments and disagreements with weight, money, prevented this epic match-up from manifesting into realization in the past.

The interesting thing is this fight could potentially favor Lomachenko provided his skillset, along with his youth and size advantages.

Based off Rigoneaux’s last performance against Moises Flores 25-0 (17 KO’s) albeit a small sample size, he appears to still possess his reflexes and power.

It’s interesting both Lomachenko and Rigondeaux share so much in common; from amateur pedigree and mirrored accomplishments at the amateur and professional level, high boxing intellect and skill-levels although each possessing different skill-sets and I believe there is a gift and curse they both share.

A gift and curse once shared by Floyd Mayweather, Marvin Hagler and many other great fighters of the past.
Rigondeaux and Lomachenko are so talented, there is reluctance at some degree regarding other fighters and their desire to face them.

It’s to a point where the financial compensation must warrant the risk of the fight.
Rigondeaux’s appears ready.

Let’s make it happen.

More Columns