Fight fans everywhere know what went down on December 9th of last year when Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux met in a hugely anticipated battle of boxing masters: Rigondeaux went down, on his stool, at the conclusion of the sixth-round and the fight was, disappointingly, over. Now just over a year later, the southpaw from Cuba with the stone face makes his ring return.
Tonight, in a chief supporting role, Rigondeaux, 17-1(11) will meet Mexico’s Giovanni Delgado, 16-8(9). The 38 year old is fully expected to win but it will take a lot more for many fans to forgive the former super-bantamweight champion for what he did in the biggest fight of his career. Fans were at a loss as to why Rigondeaux quit when he did, this after not appearing to have been hurt or wobbled by a punch, and the sole alibi given by the man who had lost his unbeaten record and a whole lot more was that he had hurt his hand in the fight.
Fight Hub caught up with “El Chacal” yesterday, and Rigondeux is sticking to his hand story.
“The better guy won,” Rigondeaux said of the loss to Loma. “I lost, [I] can’t do anything [about it.] When you’re a good winner you have to be an even better loser. I can’t go back. I don’t really want to justify it now. It would be wrong for me to do so. I took it just like any other fight. A loss is a loss. There’s criticism everywhere. The guy who’s not boxing is always criticising. It was in my interest and in my heart. At the end of the day and with the hand injury I did what was in my best interest.”
It’s too late to suggest how the great ones battle through with a hand injury, and far worse in the case of some very special fighters (think Muhammad Ali, for example, who refused to quit even with a broken jaw) and if Rigondeaux can live with what he did then who are we to moan? But again, it will take quite the re-build for Rigondeax to be back in favour with all fans. Can he ever achieve this?
Phase-one comes tonight and there is a degree of curiosity going into Rigondeaux-Delgado. Will Rigondeaux come out and fight like he has something to prove, or will we get the same steady, controlled and measured technician we grew accustomed to seeing prior to the Lomachenko loss?