Quijano: Examining Regondeaux

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By Jingo Quijano

Last Round

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


FINALLY, Nonito Donaire Jr. has his sights set on his next opponent, Guillermo Rigondeaux, as they are scheduled to duke it out on April 13 at the Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, Nevada.

It would have been a shame if all that momentum he gained from 4 wins in 2012 en route to Fighter of the Year honors would be derailed by inactivity.

Understandably, now that Donaire has reached superstar status, it’s difficult to strike a balance between finding a worthy opponent and one with drawing power.

Rigondeaux doesn’t seem to be a marquee attraction just yet. But at least skills-wise, he appears to be a credible challenger.

BACKGROUND. Rigondeaux is an accomplished amateur fighter who won gold twice in the Olympics for Cuba.

He turned pro in 2009 and currently has an immaculate record of 11 with 8KOs.

He’s a southpaw who comes forward aggressively. He has fast hands, although he’s not very busy and prefers to knock out opponents with perfectly timed punches.

Though he’s viewed as untested, he has been in there with veterans such as Ricardo Cordoba whom he defeated via split decision and Jose Angel Beranza (RTD 7).

He became the WBA superbantamweight champion in only his 9th pro fight, knocking out Rico Ramos in six rounds.

Rigo has explosive power in both hands and is coming off a well-earned unanimous decision victory over Roberto Marroquin.

COMPARISON. Sometimes it’s easy to get complacent when you look at an opponent with only 11 pro fights to his credit, but with his extensive amateur background, Rigondeaux is no spring chicken.

He’s even older than Donaire at 32 and this should tell you that he’s been fighting longer than the “Filipino Flash”.

Remember that Cuban amateur fighters are prohibited from turning pro and had he not defected in 2009, he probably would not be fighting professionally at all.

On the flipside, it’s difficult to gauge how good these Cuban boxers are in the pro ranks unless they get tested by the top-tier fighters.

Rigo likes to carry his lead right hand low which could open him up to one of those whistling left hooks from the “Filipino Flash”.

But he’s a dangerous puncher with hand speed comparable to Donaire. I think the first few rounds will be interesting but once Donaire figures him out and he gets a sample of that vaunted power, he’ll change tactics and try to outbox the taller Donaire.

Either way, I see Donaire pulling off the win via late stoppage.

CUBAN FIGHTERS. Pro boxing has seen its share of excellent Cuban fighters who made the successful transition to the professional ranks. The most recent and prominent example that comes to mind was Joel Casamayor.

Casamayor defected in 1996 and wasted no time in building his pro resume. He won the WBA superfeatherweight crown two years later and would go on to win the WBO and WBC lightweight diadems later in his career.

He holds wins over Diego Corrales, Nate Campbell and Michael Katsidis. In his last outing he was defeated by Timothy Bradley in 8 rounds.

Of those currently active, the most promising would be Yuriorkis Gamboa who is currently the WBA superfeatherweight king and who trains at the same gym as Rigo.

Other fighters noteworthy of mention are Odlanier Solis who campaigns at the heavyweight division. He challenged Vitali Klitschko in 2011 but lost in one round. He currently holds a record of 18-1, 12KOs.

Erislandy Lara is also one of the top contenders in the junior middleweight division. He currently holds a record of 17-1, 11KOs.

LAST ROUNDS. Are on Rommel “Bords” Hapin, Haidee Wang-Mellana and Atty. Dennis Quiokeles who are celebrating their birthdays this week. Cheers!

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 13, 2013.

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