The knock on Cuban southpaw Guillermo Rigondeaux has been, for years, that he is a dull fighter, a boring technician who never sends fans home happy. Well, as age has caught up with the still more than capable and formidable southpaw, Rigondeaux has been forced to take more punches than he used to – and case in point, last night’s TKO win over Mexico’s Julio Ceja, this has made for far more entertainment.
Rigondeaux stood right in there at close quarters with younger man Ceja (26 to Rigo’s 38) and the two basically slugged it out. Quite amazing for a Rigondeaux fight, and in a good way for the paying fans, the action flowed throughout. Ceja may have had an edge in punches landed yet both guys were doing work. Both men had a point taken off for low blows and then the end came suddenly in round-eight, when Rigondeaux landed a big, clean left hand to the head that felled Ceja.
Ceja got up but referee Russell Mora decided he’d seen enough and stopped the fight. Rigondeaux is now 19-1(13) and last night’s win saw him earn a shot at the WBC super-bantamweight title. Ceja falls to 32-4(28).
Rigondeaux may not have too long left in his career (he’s not had that many pro fights yet he did have a ton of a amateur bouts), yet if he fights the way he did last night, the fans will sure enjoy seeing him while they can. Rey Vargas holds the WBC belt at 122 pounds and another fight between a Mexican and Rigondeaux could turn out to be a classic.
Rigondeaux is pleased with the way last night’s performance and victory was a way of shutting up those critics that say he is a boring fighter:
“People were saying I run a lot. That’s not true,” Rigondeaux said. “I showed I can fight at short distance. The left came and that ended the fight.”
Not only did Rigondeaux prove he can be an exciting fighter, he also redeemed himself, at least somewhat, after his less than heroic effort against Vasyl Lomachenko some months back, in December of 2017. Rigondeaux showed heart and a willingness to rumble last night. Again, quite amazing.