Saturday night was supposed to be the coming out party for 2012 fighter of the year Nonito Donaire. Donaire who was regarded as one of the top few pound-for-pound fighters in the world, actually picked up his fighter of the year award while in New York.
For Donaire Saturday night was supposed to be an opportunity for the novice boxing fan to learn who the “Filipino Flash” was and why he was so well thought of.
Instead Nonito Donaire was totally outclassed, and got a boxing lesson from a former Cuban Olympic gold medalist fighting in only his 12th pro bout.
Guillermo Rigondeaux was an underdog who was supposed to be to inexperienced a boxer to have any affect on Donaire, instead Rigondeaux fell back on his 400 plus amateur fights, and schooled Donaire in a way no one would have expected on Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 6,145 at Radio City Music Hall.
Take out the running and absolutely boring boxing during the middle rounds, and Rigondeaux put on an absolutely beautiful display of defense, counter punching, and technical prowess.
Guillermo Rigondeaux was definitely impressed with the show he put on.
“Everybody says I was just an amateur,” Rigondeaux said. “But I was a star as an amateur, and I am a star as a pro with 12 fights.”
Rigondeaux fought a brilliant defensive fight, slipping Donaire’s punches and consistently landing with his own big counters.
While his output was often frustratingly low, he seemed to leave Donaire bewildered and unsure of what to do. Normally self-assured offensively gifted Donaire was only able to throw one shot at a time, and struggled to show any aggressiveness until the later rounds.
Donaire apologized for the performance and offered up an excuse for lack of offensive power.
“I apologize. I wanted to deliver,” said Donaire, now a former three-division champion. “There is a lot of pressure, not just with the baby [his wife, Rachel, is expecting this summer], but — and I’m not taking anything away from Rigondeaux — I needed surgery on my shoulder. No excuse. I give everything to Rigondeaux. But I’m going to go back to the drawing board, get the surgery. He played a beautiful boxing game, and it was my mistake for not changing up.”
Donaire will not have to go back to the drawing board. He’s expecting a child this summer, and from all indications will have to have shoulder surgery.
After struggling to make-weight, Donaire will most likely have to make a permanent move up to featherweight, and to pursue another title, and plenty of quality competition.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum was not pleased with fight or how it made his fighter look.
“It was not a very engaging fight,” Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said. “If Rigondeaux would stand and fight, (he) has a lot of power and a lot of skills, but running the way he does really makes it not a watchable fight.”
It was a quality win for Rigondeaux, but left him with a bit of a conundrum. Guillermo Rigondeaux has the potential to be an excellent boxer, but his style will always leave more to be desired.
Those of us who know boxing and can appreciate defense can see what type of fighter he can be. Boxing fans and the people who spend money on the tickets want to see action and hands being thrown.
Even with all the counter punching and elusiveness Floyd Mayweather Jr provides, his counter punches land clean and make his opponent look stupid. Floyd Mayweather Jr bouts for the most part are exciting and leave fans wanting more.
I’m not sure anybody besides the diehard boxing fan ever wants to see Guillermo Rigondeaux fight again, especially if he’s going to employ that style.