Guillero Rigondeaux Wins Split Decision Over Ricardo Cordoba, Wins Interim WBA Super-Bantam Belt

By James Slater: Last night, on the under-card of the huge Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito clash, Cuban amateur sensation Guillermo Rigondeaux won his biggest pro fight to date as he won a 12-round split decision over the vastly experienced Ricardo Cordoba of Panama.

The 30-year-old former Olympian, having just his seventh pro fight, prevailed by scores of 114-112 and 117-109 on two cards, while the third judge had it 114-112 for the 27-year-old former interim WBA champ.

Now 7-0(5), Rigondeaux has big things expected of him. Cordoba, now 37-3-2(23), will be bitterly disappointed at how he lost last night.

Because, though he won last night, Rigondeaux didn’t have the awesome breakthrough performance he was perhaps looking for beforehand. Maybe the styles of the two men, both southpaws, was responsible, but at times the fight was dull, even disinteresting.

Rigondeaux won the opening three rounds on my card, and then in the 4th it looked like he might get himself a most impressive stoppage win. A hard left hand to the body landed for “El Chacal” in the round, a punch so fast it was hard to detect on first viewing, and down went Cordoba. Beating the count but only just, the Panamanian looked for a second as though he might sit out the ten count.

More drama came in the 6th-round, as Cordoba, having come back well from the knockdown to win the 5th-round, scored a flash knockdown of his own. The two were trading on the inside, resulting in some good action, when a right hand from the younger man forced the Cuban to briefly touch down on the mat with one of his gloves. The referee, Jon Schorle, opted to give Rigondeaux a count. The fight was now a close one on the cards.

Unfortunately, the second half of the fight was dull, as Rigondeaux, so much the faster man, opted to back-pedal and steal points with flashy bursts. Cordoba was now the man coming forward, pressing the fight, but for the most part he was too slow to land anything. Looking to box and move and counter, the boxer who had over 400 amateur fights was content to hold his hands low and even showboat on occasion.

At times boos could be heard from the vast crowd, and it’s true the fight was somewhat boring in the second half. Some of these late rounds were tough to score, in that neither guy was doing too much work. Rigondeaux’s defensive skills were apparent, however, and he was also catching the judges’ eyes with his fast hands - his right jab especially.

Feeling he had the fight in the bag, points-wise, the Cuban star refused to take any chances in the last two rounds, and he used his swift footwork to keep him out of any danger. Again, Cordoba pressed in, but he was ineffective as he did so. More booing was to be heard from the massive crowd.

In the end we saw some weird scoring, but as some of the rounds saw next to no action from either guy this was expected. Rigondeaux is not the finished article yet - how could he be after just seven pro fights? - but he won and that’s the main thing. Some fans, though, may disagree and argue how the man from Panama deserved the decision.

There will be much tougher fights for Rigondeaux in the future now that he is up there at championship level, and as inactive (lazy?) as he was tonight, he may be in trouble in future outings if he fights the same way. Time will tell.

Article posted on 15.11.2010

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