Rigondeaux tops Agbeko in unanimous decision

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey -- WBA and WBO super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux retained his titles with a 12-round, unanimous decision over former two-time bantamweight champ Joseph Agbeko on Saturday.

All three judges had Rigondeaux winning every round, with identical scores of 120-108.

"I came to do what I need to do," he said through an interpreter. "Every time out there, I try to improve. I'm improving every day. I had no problems in any round."

Rigondeaux, a native of Cuba now living in Miami, delivered a solid-yet-conservative performance.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist is considered one of boxing's top pound-for-pound fighters, but draws criticism for his style.

He generated cheers from the crowd in the sixth round by landing five straight powerful left crosses to Agbeko's midsection, but otherwise was content to stay on the outside and pepper his Ghanaian opponent with right jabs and left hooks before dancing out of danger.

Agbeko also deserved criticism for the slow pace, averaging only 29 punches per round.

"I felt strong throughout the fight, it was just tough to get to him," Agbeko said. "I hurt my right hand early and couldn't throw it much. But it was hard to catch him. He's very fast and he's got great footwork."

Rigondeaux was making his fourth defense of the WBA title he gained by knocking out former champion Rico Ramos in the sixth round in January 2012. He followed with a fifth-round TKO over Teon Kennedy and a 12-round decision over Roberto Marooquin before adding the WBO belt with his stunning, 12-round decision over Nonito Donaire last April.

Agbeko was a two-time IBF bantamweight champ who made the jump from 118 pounds (53.5 kilograms) to 122 (55) for the first time Saturday.

In the co-feature, middleweight James Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs) registered a sixth-round TKO over formerly unbeaten prospect Glen Tapia (20-1).

Referee Steve Smoger halted the fight at 38 seconds in the sixth when Kirkland pinned Tapia against the ropes and landed a half dozen unanswered punches.

In the night's other top fight, English middleweight Matthew Macklin (30-5, 20 KOs) earned a 10-round, unanimous decision over Lamar Russ (14-1). (AP)

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