World Champ after 8 Fights! Go Rigondeaux Go!

By Coach Tim Walker - It happens when a puncher's maximum force connects at an exact point of breathing. You can't prepare for it. You can't teach it. It just happens when it happens, and when it happens we are all caught unexpectedly. Possibly even the thrower of that precise punch is off guard. That rare knockout by body shot. It is a thing of power, beauty and is as debilitating as any head shot. When a fighter goes down by body shot he seldom gets up by the count of 10. Guillermo Rigondeaux (2-0, 2 KO), one of the most prolific amateur boxers in history, successfully dismantled challenger Robert Guillin with one of the aforementioned body shots.. If left most of us saying “Woah!” and Guillin in amazing pain on the canvas clutching at his side as he rolled from his knees to his stomach to his side over and over again. The worst thing about this kind of shot is that unlike being taken out by a shot to the head fighters are fully cognizant threw all the pain. Fighters aren't woozy from this type of shot they feel every agonizing moment and there is nothing they can do except ride it threw.

Possibly more impressive than Rigondeaux' win, which at this stage is expected against lower tiered competition, was the statement he made in his pre-fight interview. During that interview he very calmly and matter-of-factly stated that he expects to be fighting for his first world title after his seventh or eighth pro fight. Again, Woah! Let's get in the archives here guys.

I recall Evander Holyflied boldly confronting Dwight Muhammed Qawi back in 1986 for the WBA Cruiserweight Title after only 12 fights. Challenging Qawi was one thing, winning the world was something altogether different. I can even remember Iron Mike Tyson becoming the youngest heavyweight champion in history at the age of 20 back in 1986. Still he won that title in
his 28th fight. Wilfred Benítez, at the age of 17, took on and beat champion Antonio Cervantes for the WBA Light Welterweight title back in 76. An amazing feat!

Still, it was his 26th professional fight. Floyd Patterson won his first title in his 32nd fight.

Muhammad Ali in his 21st fight. George Foreman in his 38th fight. Even the great Joe Louis and Max Baer didn't lay claim to title greatness until their 33rd and 46th fights respectively. Seventh or eighth fight! Really?

Is that even possible?

To answer that question we must first evaluate the current landscape of the super-bantamweight division. Let's consider all the straps out there IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC, WBO and even the WBF. Man is that too many titles or what? Don't really know if the WBF is still in existence but their website says they have a champion so we'll look at him too. Celestino Caballero (IBF, WBC): The only unified champ at this weight. He hails from the country (Panama) where the little men are the big dogs. His style is very jerky with extremely long jabs and crosses.

Awkward at times. His hooks and upper cuts are a bit non-fundamental as is his bouncing back and fourth footwork. When he punches his weight is slightly unevenly distributed over his lead foot. Surprisingly he remains mobile during this. He wants to be aggressive in the ring and this would play into the counter-puncher style of Rigondeaux. With a 5-11 frame he is certainly one of the longest and most unorthodox super-bantamweights in the game and would not be an easy fight for Rigondeaux.

Mike Oliver (IBO): (Oliver is the most recent champ for this organization) He is a bit slick and a bit undisciplined. He has shown that he will hold his lead hand low from the onset of fight and will jump in with shots totally exposed. Occasionally he smothers his own shots in close and can be outworked at times. His southpaw stance may cause an initial pause from Rigondeaux. However, Oliver's lack of punching accuracy and power will ultimately yield to Rigondeaux's strengths. Has skill not a lot of power, maybe not enough of either to deal with Rigondeaux.

Poonsawat Kratindaenggym (Interim WBA): Say that 3 times fast. He is a fundamentally sound boxer with two handed power. Excellent hooks to the body and good head movement and slips especially on the inside. But at 3 inches above 5 feet he wants and would need to fight in close and I'm not sure that he has the speed to close the gap against the taller, quicker southpaw. This would be a heck of a fight though.

Juan Manuel Lopez (WBO): World class power. Short precision punches in combination at distance and in close quarters though he has 70 inch wingspan. 10 first round knockouts spread out over his entire career is suggestive of how substantial his power is. He is always in punching position and seldom gets off balance. He is a southpaw as well but his style is to press the action. That might play into the counter-punching style of Rigondeaux but he would offer a more than significant challenge. This too would be an awesome fight.

One deeper, Israel Vasquez (according to the WBF website he is the champ, don't know if they still exist but champ it is): Hasn't fought since March 2008. Undergone 3 surgeries to repair a detached retina incurred during the final fight of his trilogy with Rafeal Maquez. He has tremendous heart but his defense seems to only be a bit of ducking and a high cover. He isn't extremely fast either. With ring rust surely building up it would not be in his best interest to face Rigondeaux assuming he is ever cleared to box again.

Based on how busy Rigondeaux has been, fighting about every 2 months, it should take him 1 year to eclipse the 8 fight mark. Can he possibly have learned enough of the pro game to fight for let alone win a world title? He has certainly seen his share of boxing styles and faced the world's best time and time again. He is in fact considered the best amateur boxer in history and possibly intends to add the title of worlds best boxer to his list of accomplishments as well. Can he do it? That my friends is the joy of boxing. Watching it all unfold. Many prolific amateurs have failed as professionals. I for one wouldn't put it past him.

Boxing fans always crave greatness. I think Rigondeaux is primed for great things.

For questions or comments please contact Coach Tim Walker at

Article posted on 21.07.2009

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