May 22, all eyes will be on Guillermo Rigondeaux

By Diosman Carmenate - On this May 22 on Friday night fights, the boxing World will finally get a glimpse at probably one of the most skilled and spectacular fighters that has ever competed in the Amateur program. Guillermo Rigondeaux Ortiz, (Born: September 30, 1980 in La Prueba, Cuba) is a former Cuban amateur star boxer, who captured the Olympic Gold Medal at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, in the Bantamweight (54 kg) class. Rigondeaux is a seven-time (2000-06) Cuban national champion at bantamweight.. He currently claims an astonishing amateur record of 243-4. He also won Gold at the 2001 Belfast World Championships, Gold at the 2002 Astana World Championships, Gold at the 2005 Myangyang World Championships, Gold at the 2001 Goodwill games, Gold at the 2003 Santo Domingo PanAmerican Championships, Gold at the 2005 Teresopolis PanAmerican Championships, Gold at the 2006 Cartagena de Indias Central American and Caribbean Games, Gold at the 2006 Baku, first place in the cup of all Nations.

On July 22, 2007, Rigondeaux and teammate Erislandy Lara failed to appear for their scheduled bouts at the Pan American Games in Brazil. It was initially announced that Rigondeaux was to turn professional, joining fellow 2004 Cuban Olympians Odlanier Solis, Yuriorkis Gamboa, and Yan Barthelemy who defected earlier in 2007. As with the other Cuban defectors, Rigondeaux signed a promotional deal with Ahmer Ohner and Arena Box Promotion. However on August 2nd, Rigondeaux and Lara were taken into police custody in Brazil, stating that they wanted to return home to Cuba. Then Cuban leader Fidel Castro has stated that Rigondeaux and Lara will not box again for the Cuban team. In February 2009, Rigondeaux defected again via Mexico City to Miami, and signed with ARENA Box.

Very few athletes in the World can accomplish what Rigondeaux has done, 2 Olympic Gold medals at the very young age of 23. Rigondeaux, with his " French last name " does'nt come from France but from the Island of Cuba where there he harvested Gold Medals and World Championships for a living. A smooth southpaw boxer puncher ala " Mayweather " or perhaps " Pernell Whitaker ", but with way better amateur accomplishments, the Cuban simply teared through his division in the World amateur tournaments. For many years, he was considered " pound for pound " the best boxer in the Amateurs. This is something extremely difficult to do considering that he had to " overshadow " his other greatly talented Cuban countrymen in the team, something to which he did ever since he was at the world stage.

Rigondeaux was right on track to repeat in the 2008 Olympic games and as well in the 2012 games. He would have joined the only few selected men to have ever win three Olympic Gold medals, Lazlo Papp, Teofilo Stevenson and Felix Savon. Make no mistake, Rigondeaux's success comes from his incredible technique and superb talent. He is a boxer who has a tremendous power in his left hand, combines unbelievable footwork and can box " perfectly " in all three distances. Rigondeaux knows exactly how to adapt to his opponent's style and will get him out with just one shot. In terms of defence, he is just " unhittable ".

Simply put, when boxing commentator Teddy Atlas saw Rigondeaux's debut at the age of 18 he said, " He is simply the best amateur that I have ever seen in my life "!!! This is coming from a man who has seen more amateurs than no one. After an unsuccessful attempt to defect, he was sent back to Cuba where he was " banned " for life for trying to defect from his country. Rigondeaux knew that his only choice then was to try again and thus it happened when he defected for the second time and now he is ready to showcast to the whole world what " this Cuban from Santiago " can do.

His professional debut this upcoming Friday is something that has everyone talking. It is not everyday that a " boxing phenom " defects and thus has everyone thinking about how he will do in his new professional career. At age 28, Rigondeaux has to be very busy just like his awesome teammate Yuriorkis Gamboa and fight at least once a month. In terms of physical abilities, think of Rigondeaux and compare him to Gamboa's speed and power but with more accuracy and better footwork. On top of that, Rigondeaux is a " southpaw " and thus will help him even more. Simply put, as good as Gamboa is right now, if Rigondeaux and Gamboa fight at this moment my money will have to go to Rigondeaux and this is even counting his inactivity of possibly 3 years. Yes, Rigondeaux is that good.

Guillermo defected months ago, but was waiting for immigration to finally give him the OK to start boxing. It is very possible that he has been training with the other Cuban phenom " Gamboa " for many months now. It will be good to see how he will look in his professional debut and how he will react but then again he has been in the Internation scene for almost 10 years. In terms of physical abilities, amateur experience and boxing skills Rigondeaux has the chance of becoming a " great champion " a hall of famer and crack the Pound for Pound ratings. Yes, he is that good.

This Friday, all eyes will be on the little Cuban Olympic Champion Rigondeaux. At the same time, hot prospect Cuban light middleweight Erislandy Lara will also be featured on the card. Lara is another " great promise " to watch out for as De La Hoya has said that Lara is " the next great thing in boxing ". An awesome night of boxing awaits this Friday even though that their names are not famous like Pacquiao or Mayweather but these men from Cuba have the potential to someday be the next " Pac " or " Floyd " of boxing or maybe even better. Little by little the Cubans are making a comeback in professional boxing as they always shined before Castro took over and banned professional sports. Rigondeaux, Gamboa, Solis, Lara and the other Cubans that have defected are causing everyone to notice and to once again, mention the word " Cuban ".

Rigondeaux will leave no doubt this upcoming Friday and it does'nt really matter who they put against him either. Yes, he is that good. His chance has finally come to fulfill his dream to box professionally and for the boxing fans it is no doubt a very wonderful surprise and a treat to finally see this Cuban boxing " phenom " showcase his talent. Rigondeaux, is extremely lucky that he has this chance as many of the other Cuban greats have vanished after their great Amateur accomplishments and have never gotten the opportunity to showcase their great talents in professional boxing. Only a select few that have escaped Cuba have had this great opportunity not only for them but for us as well the boxing fans. Guillermo Rigondeaux Ortiz, remember this name as he will surely be remembered for a very looong time!!!

Yes, he is that good.

Article posted on 16.05.2009

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