The Most Surprisingly Exciting Fighter Of 2019: Guillermo Rigondeaux

Two fights, two KO’s – including a Fight Of The Year contender.

Not a bad 2019 at all for “boring” Guillermo Rigondeaux. In January of 2019, the Cuban boxing master scored an impressive first-round KO over Giovanni Delgado, while in June of last year, “El Jackal” stood and fought toe-to-toe with Julio Ceja, winning via eighth-round stoppage in a great, as in surprisingly great, action fight.

The knock on southpaw Rigondeaux, for years, has been 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, the June TKO win over Mexico’s Ceja, a fight that featured plenty of close quarters warfare, with no real clinching to be seen.

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Rigondeaux stood right in there with the much younger man Ceja (12 years difference between the two) and the two basically slugged it out. Quite amazingly 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. Seen by some as a premature stoppage, this did perhaps spoil the fight a little.

Still, Rigondeaux, who, at age 39, may not have too long left in his career, proved last year that he can indeed provide great action in the ring. 2019 could have been an even better year for Rigondeaux. He was set to face Liborio Solis in a bantamweight title fight on December 21st, but the fight was called off when Solis suffered visa problems. The word is, this fight will likely now happen on February 8. If he can win, and win in exciting fashion three times in a row, who knows, maybe Rigondeaux will become a fan favourite!

This is something that would have seemed ludicrous back when Rigondeaux was quitting against Vasyl Lomachenko. In fact, Rigondeaux redeemed himself, showing heart and a willingness to rumble against Ceja. How much longer can this amazing 39 year old continue to operate at top level?