Quijano: Rigondeaux improves image

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014


PERHAPS he was finally fed up of being labeled a bore and wanted to make a lasting impression.
Others disagree and say it was all about it gamesmanship.

Still others refuse to sugarcoat it and argue that it was a good old, cheap shot. Plain and simple.

Whatever the case, Guillermo Rigondeaux made short work of Sod Kokietgym last Sunday at the Cotai Arena in Macau, and was declared the victor in just 1 minute and 44 seconds of the first round

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CONTROVERSY. The bout started out typically, with both fighters jabbing and landing the obligatory "feeling- out" first round punches.

But around the 1:34 mark, both fighters figured in an accidental clash of heads. Unfortunately for Kokietgym, he came out having the worst end of it, and was knocked down and dazed.

A few seconds later, the referee declared him fit to continue and as the fighters met in the center of the ring, they touched gloves briefly.

But in one fluid, deadly maneuver, Rigondeaux followed it up with a hook-straight combo and just like that, the still-disoriented Kokietgym was counted out.

MANTRA. I've made no secret of my dislike of Rigo's fighting style. He calls it the Cuban school of boxing and well, let's just say that's one school I'm glad isn't too well-populated.

He talks the talk, and brags about giving Nonito Donaire a "beating" but we all know he is a master at utilizing lateral movement to evade contact.

Now, Kokietgym is a relative unknown and didn't really belong in the same ring with Rigo in the first place. Sure he came in with a record of 63-2, with 28KOs, but majority of those wins came against decrepit opposition.

The best name on his list was Daniel Ponce de Leon and he lost twice (UD in 2005 and by KO1 in 2006)

Class- or the utter lack of it, always shows in boxing, and in Kokietgym's case, his inexperience could not have been made more apparent by his failure to observe one basic boxing mantra that every fighter should know by heart he repeats it in his sleep.

Protect yourself at all times.

Kokietgym should have insisted to the referee that he needed more time to recover , and regardless of the latter's decision, that would have given him a few precious seconds to clear the cobwebs in his head.

He exacerbated that mistake by walking towards Rigo with his hands down, then innocently hold out his gloves to be touched-momentarily leaving him wide open for that flush hook-straight combo.

The replay showed that he tried to cover up, but it was too late. A split second is all that a wily, hardy fighter like Rigo needs.

IMAGE. Ergo, I disagree with the boxing pundits who insist it was a cheap shot. It was a perfectly legal shot and it was Kokietgym's responsibility to be wary and cautious of his opponent and not walk towards Rigo like he owed him money.

But Rigo's actions-though legal, were done in poor taste. The guy wasn't even in his class and there was no freaking way he was going to lose to a fighter of Kokeitgym's caliber.

Remember this is the same guy who possessed the craft and guile to beat one of the sports' best pound-for- pound fighters in Nonito Donaire

Bottom line-It was all about gamesmanship and this is similar to what happened to Victor Ortiz against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

However, while Rigo may have been well within his rights to fight in that manner, his actions will certainly not help his sagging, unpopular image.

Before he was dismissed as a bore. Now he's improved a bit by being labeled a cheat.

LAST ROUNDS. Are on my SHS-B '89 batchmate Patrick Trinidad, wife Lorna and kids Luke and PG. T'was great seeing you again. Don't wait too long before your next visit. Cheers!

(jingo_quijano@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 23, 2014.

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