The announcement came today per BoxingScene. Live in Los Angeles. The Cuban boxer essentially quit before the start of the seventh round, stating a left hand injury he sustained in the second round as the reason for his decision. The Cuban boxer received heavy criticism for refusing to fight on. Prior to the bout he had racked up a perfect record with 11 knockouts.
Boxing, the only professional sport I can think of that has no clearly recognised World Governing Body. Of course there are sanctioning bodies who rank fighters and provide titles but they have no overall authority when it comes to making sure fights take place.
One of the byproducts of this is certain boxers, regardless of talent, are sometimes relegated to sitting on the sidelines for long spells during their careers.
There can be many reasons for this inactivity and each case and its contributing factors must be looked at on an individual basis. Officially listed as being 36 years old, many suspect he is older, Rigondeaux competes in the Super-Bantamweight lb division. The diminutive counter puncher enjoyed one of the most successful amateur careers of all time.
Banned by Fidel Castro from ever pulling on his national vest again Rigondeaux was ostracised in Cuba before he finally made a successful defection to the United States in February He made his professional debut in May of that year in Miami.
Promoted by Top Rank and with a fair amount of interest from media and fans due to his outstanding amateur achievements he fought eleven times in forty months — active by any standards in the sport today.
Rigondeaux fought on high profile cards during this run and experienced boxing in a few of the well known Las Vegas venues and also at Cowboys Stadium.
Then April 13, happened.
This was the night Guillermo faced fighter of the year and fellow Top Rank boxer Nonito Donaire. The contest took place in New York City and saw the widely regarded two best Super-Bantamweights in the world going head to head. Despite being the underdog Rigondeaux controlled the fight from start to finish, leaving Donaire looking confused and out of ideas.
For numerous reasons the exact opposite happened and since that night in April Rigondeaux has only gloved up five times, two of these appearances so brief they have to be placed in the blink and you miss it category. Top Rank had an established bankable star in Nonito Donaire.
There is no doubt in my mind about who they would have preferred to have won that particular unification bout.
Witnessing their man with the already established fan base being outclassed by a boxer who stuck to the amateur style of fighting must have got under their skin.
On some level it does look like the lack of effort that went into promoting Rigondeaux during the rest of his time with Top Rank was some form of payback for the way he dethroned Donaire. The earlier mentioned fight in Japan, against Hisashi Amagasa, was ironically the type of bout the HBO would have been delighted to show on their screens.
Faced with an aggressive opponent who towered over him Rigo found plenty of opportunities to let his hands go and land counter shots.
Drawn into almost a shootout style of fight I sensed some carelessness from Guillermo at times and he was on the canvas twice in the 7th round. It was an outstanding boxing match and I was sure that Rigondeaux had found a new home. I was convinced it was only a matter of time before he would sign a promotional deal in Japan and fight regularly in that boxing mad market.
Frustratingly this was not the case and it seemed to take forever before a promotional contract with Roc Nation Sports was signed. This delay meant that was an unproductive year for Rigondeaux. The lack of title defences saw both belts removed from him by the sanctioning bodies and when he did finally get in the ring on the Canelo-Cotto undercard in November his performance was underwhelming to say the least.
His opponent that night, Drian Francisco, was happy just to survive.
Just two rounds were completed in July in Wales when his opponent, James Dickens, had to retire with a broken jaw. The punch that inflicted that damage to Dickens was a peach and served as a reminder that Guillermo has some seriously potent offense available to him. Due to his size the highest weight class I could realistically see Rigo fighting at would be Featherweight.
I suspect he could still make Bantamweight so perhaps fights in that division could be looked at by his team if challengers at Super-Bantam are not forthcoming. Due to his previous problems with US broadcasters securing dates in America may be difficult but he would be welcomed by fans in the UK if he decided to have a few more fights over here.
While it is clear that Rigondeaux is not going to change his style for anyone it would be beneficial to him if, when faced by a foe just content to survive, he did go on the front foot to press for the knock-out.
There is no doubt that the undefeated Cuban is one of the best pure boxers operating today.
While I know plenty fans and some writers will disagree, in the case of Rigondeaux it would be nice to see a fighter with his expertise fight more regularly.
Whether you watch or not is up to you but I know I certainly would.