…But Could He Live With “The Monster?”
Cuban technician Guillermo Rigondeaux, who surprised those who actually watched him fight by engaging in a couple of action fights last year (his thriller of a win over Julio Ceja being a genuine highlight of 2019), was back to his old self last night in winning a close 12-round split decision over Venezuela’s Liborio Solis.
Winning via scores 116-111 and 115-112, the third judge having it 115-112 for Solis, Rigondeaux improved to 20-1(13). Oh, and “El Jackal” picked up a version of the WBA bantamweight title. Solis, who feels he did enough to have won the fight, falls to 30-6-1(14).
Fighting down at 118 pounds for the first time in years, southpaw Rigondeaux, aged 39 and fast closing in on his 40th birthday, had to overcome some rocky moments against Solis, in the opening round and during other brief spells in the engrossing if not too exciting affair. Maybe the drop in weight affected Rigondeaux, although he said later that it did not.
A master boxer, Rigondeaux did come out with power shots at times, such as in the 7th when he sent Solis reeling into the ropes with a tasty left uppercut, Solis being ruled to have suffered a knockdown by ref Benjy Esteves. While in the closing rounds it was pretty much all Rigondeaux.
After the win, the classy Cuban who has now won three in a row (spaced out over a 13 month spell) since his capitulation against Vasyl Lomachenko, said he is ready to fight “anyone – whoever the fans want me to fight.”
“Like I’ve showed everyone before, I can fight right in the middle of the ring,” a victorious Rigondeaux said. “I tried that in the first round, but after that round, (trainer) Ronnie Shields told me to show him some boxing and cut the ring off. I’m available for anyone who wants to get in the ring. Who do the fans want to see me fight? I’m ready for any fighter. Now that I’m at my weight, let’s go hunting?”
Might Rigondeaux fancy doing a spot of monster hunting? Japanese power-puncher Naoya Inoue holds the full version of the WBA bantamweight title, along with the IBF. If he comes though against John Riel Casimero in April, maybe “The Monster” will be ready to get it on with Rigondeaux? Despite his age, an Inoue-Rigondeaux fight would be sold as a classic Boxer Vs. Puncher showdown. And just maybe the fight would prove to be a quite special one if it did take place.
Rigondeaux would really cap off a largely brilliant career if he somehow managed to defuse and defeat Inoue.