Quijano: Rigondeaux, brilliant but boring

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By Jingo Quijano

Last Round

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


OVER the weekend, fight fans were treated to a contrasting display of battle templates.

In the world of Mixed Martial Arts at UFC Fight Night 33, Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva engaged in a caveman-type slugfest that took our breaths away.

In woeful contrast, pro-boxing’s offering of Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Joseph Agbeko was a bore-fest. People watching the featured fight actually started heading to the exits after the first few rounds.

HUNT VS. SILVA. These two behemoths threw everything at each other-including the kitchen sink and the verdict was a very satisfying draw.

We all know how draws are often received, but in this particular case, even UFC President Dana White was pleased.

In fact, so deliriously happy was the garrulous White that he tweeted: “Both Hunt and Silva win FON and both get their win bonus and I might buy them both their own private ISLANDS!!. Sickest HW fight ever!!” (@danawhite)

These two warriors engaged in a fierce toe-to-toe battle and that fight will forever be etched in memory as one of the best in MMA heavyweight history.

RIGO VS. KING KONG. As we predicted, Rigo indeed danced his way to a unanimous decision win. Agbeko was never in it and the scores (120-108 for all three judges) accurately reflected what transpired in that non-fight.

In contrast to the abundant praise the Hunt-Silva received on Twitter, here are among the tweets that I found most hilarious about Rigo-Agbeko

“The guy told me, after the first round, my friends said, if you want to stay, you
better find a ride home” (@stevemaxboxing)

“Was going to take Nyquil, but this Rigo-Agbeko fight is just fine” (@RobbKnows)
“Dozens of purists are still in Atlantic City enjoying Rigo-Agbeko. Dozens? You must be having double vision (@diggsboxing)

STYLE NIGHTMARE. Agbeko was supposed to be a tough test for Rigo. The latter was known to be a pressure fighter with the requisite skills to bully an elusive opponent.

However, after tasting some nasty counters from Rigo, “King-kong” retreated into a shell. He became a fumbling, clueless plodder, unable to do anything effective.

At least our very own Nonito Donaire was able to get some licks in and scored a knockdown.

However, we come into a conundrum. That Agbeko fight practically confirmed what we all know: Rigo has a difficult boring style that will make opponents look bad.

He has brilliant world-class skills and possesses decent pop in both hands, but Rigo only engages when he feels he has an advantage-which is not too often.

Rigo constantly moves out of harm’s way which makes his fights ugly and unwatchable.

This leaves me thinking that we will probably have the same outcome in case of a
Donaire rematch. After sampling the best left hook in the business, Rigo will definitely not be looking to engage with the “Filipino Flash”.

Ergo, Donaire will have to play a puncher’s role, one which he does appear to essay very well.

He is by ilk, an intuitive counter-puncher. He likes to lay traps and take monumental advantage of openings.

A case in point was his last fight against Vic Darchinyan. He scored a stoppage win after hurting “The Raging Bull” with a counter left hook as the latter was deploying an uppercut.

Donaire shines best when his opponents take the fight to him. But when they prance and preen around like Rigo does, the template changes with fewer openings available to him.

Another issue might the weight class. At 5’6” and being broad-shouldered, Donaire now competes in the featherweight division after he revealed he had issues continuing to compete in the lower weight divisions.

The shorter Rigo on the other hand is much more comfortable at the super-bantamweight where he currently holds the WBO and WBA diadems.

A catch-weight might not be advisable for Donaire against the brilliant but boring Rigondeaux.

HE SAID IT. “Nonito, poor man, he’s traumatized after the beating I gave him. If he wants another beating, tell him to come get it. I’ll give him another one.”-Guillermo Rigondeaux (www.boxing.com)

LAST ROUND. It’s on Isaiah Tero who recently celebrated his birthday. Cheers!

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 11, 2013.

Sports

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