The Errol Spence-Manny Pacquiao showdown is not the only fascinating fight featuring a veteran going for greatness this month. This Saturday, 40 year old Guillermo Rigondeaux faces the significantly younger John Riel Casimero in a bantamweight battle that just might give us something special. You know that feeling you get as a fight fan, before a fight, where you anticipate seeing ‘something;’ be it a great fight, a great KO, something controversial – ‘something.’ I don’t know about you, but I’ve got it going into Saturday’s WBO bantamweight collision.
A classic Boxer Vs. Puncher affair, Rigondeaux against Casimero will pit sublime skills and no lack of punching pop with raw power and perhaps underrated boxing skills. For his part, Cuban southpaw stylist Rigondeaux is promising fans we will see a “great fight that fans will talk about for years.”
“El Chacal” has said he has felt motivated whilst watching The Olympics, that the excellent fights/performances he saw, a number of them from his countrymen, made him remember how great he felt when he was winning not one, but two Olympic golds. Training with the great Ronnie Shields has also added a sense of freshness to Rigo’s game, as he said when speaking with the media.
Rigondeaux, despite being 40 years of age, looks to be well-preserved, he has not been banged up (his worst loss, in fact, his only pro loss, was the odd, he-wasn’t-even-hurt quit job against Vasiliy Lomachenko back in December of 2017), and he himself says he feels he has a lot left to offer the sport. If he can beat Casimero and regain the WBO 118 pound strap, Rigondeaux, 20-1(13) 1 no contest, will no doubt feature in a few more big fights (Rigondeaux Vs Naoya Inoue, anyone? “The Monster” being a star fighter Casimero also very much wants to fight.) But can Rigo beat the dangerous Filipino?
Casimero, 30-4(21) also last tasted defeat in 2017, when he dropped a decision against Jonas Sultan. Stopped just once, way back in 2011, by Moruti Mthalane in South Africa, Casimero has looked ruthless in his last two fights. Crushing stoppage wins over Zolani Tete and the admittedly over-matched Duke Micah saw the 31-year-old do his stuff, and Casimero is saying he will be the first man to knock Rigondeaux clean out.
Rigondeaux too is saying he will get the KO win. If either man makes good on his prediction, he will get a ton of praise. There could be some real spite, some genuine bad blood in this one, as well as some superb skill and hard-punching on display. Some fights come along that are very, very hard to pick. This is one such fight. How long is there to go before Rigondeaux falls foul of Father Time? Is Casimero too unpolished to be able to live with Rigondeaux? Will Casimero try too hard to get the KO? Who has the better chin of the two?
‘Something special’ may await us. There was a time when the big knock on Rigondeaux was that he was boring as hell. There is not much talk of concern along those lines going into Saturday’s fight. Maybe that’s because we know Casimero will not allow Rigondeaux to fight a boring fight. Casimero will make Rigondeaux fight, but to whose detriment will this be?
Pick: Rigondeaux to come through some rough patches to win a close, hard and at times thrilling decision.