Last night at Hialeah Park, former WBA bantamweight and former WBO/WBA super-bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux returned to action following a significant layoff that was forced on him after he suffered facial burns in a freak cooker explosion in his apartment some months back. The 42 year old southpaw from Cuba jumped right on his opponent, fellow lefty Jesus Martinez of Colombia, also aged 42, and “El Chacal” got the job done in style.
Rigondeaux, so often labelled a boring fighter, was aggressive right from the start and he dropped Martinez to one knee just seconds in. A short time later, a right/left combo to the head left Martinez crumpled in a corner, the outclassed fighter taking the full ten-count whilst remaining in a sitting position. Time was just 1:14 of round one. Rigondeaux is now 21-3(14) and last night’s win was his first fight back after dropping a close decision against Vincent Astrolabio a full year ago. Martinez, who was coming off two decision wins, falls to 33-18-1(16).
“I just wanted to say I’m back,” a victorious Rigondeaux said after the short fight. “Guillermo is back. The legend.”
Rigondeaux, who has been fighting as a pro since way back in 2009 and who had accomplished a whole lot during his career, included her an astonishingly decorated amateur career, now wants to go after a belt at 118 pounds. Naoya Inoue recently vacated the four major bantamweight belts and it’s possible Rigondeaux, who always keeps himself in shape, never going much above his fighting weight, could indeed win one of them.
Last night’s fight was over with too quickly for us to have learned too much from it, but Rigondeaux looked sharp, he was accurate with his aggression, and he was far from dull or boring. It might be that Guillermo Rigondeaux is a fighter who is never fully appreciated until his career is finally over. Let’s hope “The Jackal” can keep busy and that he keeps going the momentum last night’s fight brought him. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see Rigondeaux get another world title shot.