WBO bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero (31-4, 21 KOs) did what he had to do for him to defeat the two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-2, 13 KOs) by an uneventful 12 round split decision on Saturday night in their fight at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
This writer had Rigondeaux winning a narrow decision by a 115-113, but it’s understandable why two of the judges gave it to Casimero.
You can argue that Rigondeaux should have won, but two of the judges were more interested in giving the rounds to the busier guy, Casimero, even though he was missing 90% of his shots.
Although Casimero missed almost every punch he threw in the fight, just the fact that he was throwing shots was enough for two of the judges to give him the win.
If this were an amateur fight in which you have to land to win, Casimero would have lost.
After all the talk that Rigondeaux, 40, had done about how he would beat Casimero, he failed to engage in a real way. Rigondeaux’s decision not to stand and fight Casimero ultimately cost him the fight, as two of the judges weren’t enamored with his failure to let his hands go.
The Dignity Health Sports Park crowd wasn’t happy either, as they booed both fighters – but mainly Rigondeaux – sporadically.
The scores were as follows:
- 117-111 – Casimero
- 116-112 – Casimero
- 115-113 – Rigondeaux
Casimero, 32, was constantly coming forward throughout the fight, loading up and missing over and over again. He could not land due to Rigondeaux’s cat-like reflexes and superb defensive skills.
Rigondeaux appeared to win six of the first eight rounds with his pinpoint punches and impeccable defense, but the judges saw it the other way. Rigo was landing some beautiful left-hand shots down the pipe, picking Casimero off with the punches, and doing a great job.
The crowd was booing in the third round as Casimero pursued Rigondeaux around the ring, trying his best to land shots. Casimero looked embarrassed and frustrated because he could not get close enough to land anything, as he was getting picked off expertly by Rigondeaux.
When you get a wild fighter like Casimero, it’s difficult for them to land punches against a boxer with the kind of defense that Rigondeaux possesses.
Casimero had his best success during the fight was when he was throwing body shots at Rigondeaux. However, it left the Filipino fighter open to Rigondeaux’s left-hand counters to the head, which was snapping his head back.
In the championship rounds, Rigondeaux took advantage of Casimero fighting overly aggressively, and he was able to hit him repeatedly with powerful left hands to the head.
In the championship rounds, the fight continued with this pattern, with Casimero attacking Rigondeaux and getting caught with shots.
It was always Casimero that was coming forward, trying to make the fight of it.
Ultimately, that’s why the judges gave him the fight just on effort rather than on what he was landing, which wasn’t much.
All in all, both Casimero and Rigondeaux looked awful tonight, and it would have been better to score it a 12 round draw rather than giving one of them a win.