Saturday, November 14, 2015

Guillermo Rigondeaux Returns to the Ring Saturday November 21

Guillermo Rigondeaux, (15-0, 10koes) generally acknowledged as one of the best boxers, pound-for-pound, in the world, returns to the ring this Saturday, November 21st on the Miguel Cotto vs. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez under-card, at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Rigondeaux, who has been unable to find any high ranking opponents willing to meet him, will face fringe contender Drian Francisco (28-3-1, 22koes) who hails from Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, Philippines. It is not clear if any titles will be on the line when Rigondeaux faces Francisco, since recently he has been unceremoniously stripped of his WBO and WBA world Super-Bantamweight titles, but is still the holder of The Ring magazine super-Bantamweight belt.  Ironically, Rigondeaux, who was stripped on the basis of his ‘inactivity’, will now be fighting before the matches take place to decide his successors to the WBO and WBA belts.

This will be the brilliant Cuban’s first fight since his clinical destruction of Hisashi Amagasa in Osaka, Japan, last New Years Eve.  Since then, managerial and promotional problems, and his inability to find suitable opposition willing to fight him, have beset Rigondeaux.  Over two and a half years since he dismantled Nonito Donaire, with a masterful exhibition of counterpunching, Guillermo Rigondeaux struggles to find work in the ring.  He is an artist who has been blacklisted.

While his return on Saturday is obviously good news, it is still far from an ideal situation.  The opponent has been found at late notice, and the fight has received almost no publicity.  As with his last fight, Rigondeaux will be appearing with little fanfare or acclaim.  Depending on the schedule of his fight, there is a good possibility that this match will be in front of a sparse crowd. All of this must be a bitter irony for a man who already held the WBA belt, then went on to beat Donaire in 2013 for the WBO World super bantamweight title. After this victory, he must have felt like he proved himself to be an elite star, and with that stardom, doors should have opened to the big time and big fights. But, it hasn’t turned out that way.  Rigondeaux is still waiting for his big fight and big pay day.

For Drian Francisco, this is a fight of a lifetime.  Francisco is 33 years old and has been boxing professionally since 2005, and in that time, he has won several titles, including the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title, and the Interim WBA World Super-Flyweight titles.  Two fights ago, on May 30, 2015, Francisco was stopped in the 1st round by Jason Canoy, a defeat that he puts down to going into the fight sick.  It is the only stoppage defeat so far of his career.  This fight could transform Francisco’s life and career if he is able to produce a huge upset and defeat Rigondeaux. On the other hand, this match is very much one of the ‘no-win’ variety for Rigondeaux. If he beats Francisco with ease, he will be doing nothing more than what is expected of him. However, if he struggles, after being out of the ring for almost a year, then the chances are that a lackadaisical performance will be used as yet another excuse by the top fighters not to face him. Indeed, a defeat at this point for Rigondeaux could be an almost terminal blow to his career.

The best hope for Rigondeaux is that he can make short work of Francisco and that this contest may lead to other more challenging and meaningful fights under the Golden Boy banner.  Rigondeaux will be hoping that sooner, rather than later, he will be headlining a big show himself, rather than fighting on its undercard.  Yet, he does not want to overlook Francisco, who is a good solid boxer, with a good punch, just the kind of fighter who can be dangerous if he is underrated or overlooked.  There are those who have been looking to knock Rigondeaux off his perch, and an upset win over Guillermo would make Francisco an overnight star, at a time when Asian fighters are a sought after commodity with the emergence of China as the new, largely untapped, audience.  An on-form Rigondeaux should not have much trouble with Francisco, but the hope is that his recent inactivity, and various promotional and managerial distractions will not have taken too much of a toll on ‘The Jackal.’

Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to

twitterfacebookgoogle pluslinkedinrss feedemail

No comments:

Post a Comment