Guillermo Rigondeaux: Top Five Greatest Performances

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A look back at the finest performances in the storied career of the two-division champ ahead of his showdown against WBO World Bantamweight Champion John Riel Casimero Saturday night on PBC on SHOWTIME.

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Rigondeaux vs Ceja - Watch Fight Highlights | June 23, 2019

Guillermo Rigondeaux is 40 now and still formidable. The Cuban two-time Olympic gold medalist knows every inch of the ring. The southpaw bantamweight is going to somehow, some way work around an opponent to find that angle to a punching lane where he can hit and not be hit.

This Saturday, Rigondeaux (20-1 13 KOs) will be fighting for another title, taking on WBO World Bantamweight Champion John Riel Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) from the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

Rigondeaux’s vast boxing skills have preserved him through time. But this is a new version of “The Jackal.” He’s added an attack element to his game that he rarely showed early in his career. He used to win using a defensive, Pernell Whitaker-type of avoidance. Over his last three fights, he did not mind engaging and sitting on his punches.

It’s a transformation that is worth watching, and even at 40, Rigondeaux continues to evolve.

Here is a look at five victories that have defined the long and distinguished career of Guillermo Rigondeaux.


Date: December 7, 2013

Location: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, N.J.

At stake: Rigondeaux’s WBA/WBO super bantamweight titles

Records at the time: Rigondeaux 12-0, (8 KO), Agbeko 29-4, (22 KO)

Result: Rigondeaux UD 12 (120-108, 120-108, 120-108)

Significance: Rigondeaux could have had every reason to look past this fight. He was coming off a signature victory over Nonito Donaire eight months prior. But would he be motivated for Agbeko, a former two-time bantamweight champion who had only won one fight since 2010?  So why did this fight mean anything to Rigondeaux? He had to win—and he had to win impressively. Donaire got a big fight against featherweight Vic Darchinyan, which revitalized his career. It was like Rigondeaux was being stepped over. Afterall, he had handled Donaire easily. Rigondeaux needed to impress HBO that he was worth their air time. The fight marked Agbeko’s first chance at a 122-pound title. The fight itself was devoid of any threats. Rigondeaux wanted to prove his dominance and he did, cruising to a shutout victory using his tricky defensive skills and formidable counterpunching. It was probably the cleanest victory of Rigondeaux’s career, sweeping Agbeko on the judges’ scorecards with 120-108 scores. It may have been bereft of excitement, but Rigondeaux put on a virtuoso performance, further cementing his status as one of the world’s master boxers.   


Date: January 20, 2012

Location: Palms Casino and Resort, Pearl Theater, Las Vegas, Nevada

At stake: Ramos’ WBA super bantamweight title

Records at the time: Rigondeaux 8-0, (6 KO), Ramos 20-0, (11 KOs)

Result: Rigondeaux TKO 6 (1:29)

Significance: The importance was simple: It marked Rigondeaux’s first major title. Ramos was 24 at the time, and he had notched a comeback victory in stopping Akifumi Shimoda in the seventh round to annex the WBA 122-pound belt. Rigondeaux, then 30, was feeling his biological clock was ticking toward a world championship, especially after the way he had plowed over Willie Casey in Ireland in March 2011. Appearing on Showtime’s ShoBox: The New Generation main event, Rigondeaux-Ramos was a contrast in styles. Ramos at the time was considered a rising hard charger who made exciting fights. Rigondeaux, on the other hand, was well, Rigondeaux, a tricky lefty who could spin his opponents into circles though not known for his power. Rigondeaux exposed Ramos as an upstart at the elite level, knocking him down in the first round and finishing him with a body shot in the sixth. Rigondeaux was so dizzying defensively that he turned Ramos into a human fan, swatting and swinging at air to the tune of 15 punches connected of 114 thrown (13% connect rate). This set Rigondeaux on his path.


Date: November 13, 2010

Location: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington

At stake: No title

Records at the time: Rigondeaux 6-0, (5 KOs), Cordoba 37-2-2, (23 KOs)

Result: Rigondeaux SD 12 (114-112, 117-109, 112-114)

Significance: This battle of southpaws introduced Rigondeaux to the world stage. He was a renowned amateur before defecting from Cuba in 2009. This was also the closest Rigondeaux came to his first pro loss. Fighting on the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito undercard at what was then called Cowboys Stadium, Rigondeaux was embarking on just his seventh pro fight while this would be Cordoba’s 42nd. Cordoba was 4½ inches taller than Rigondeaux and on fight night, the Panamanian blew up to 133 pounds while Rigondeaux weighed 124. Still, Rigondeaux was the favorite. Rigondeaux, the slick, slippery defensive wizard, was the stalker early on. A Rigondeaux left to the body with 52 seconds into the fourth round led to Cordoba taking a knee. Almost halfway through the sixth, Rigondeaux’s knee and right glove touched the canvas after Cordoba clipped him with a right, which was the first time Rigondeaux was ever knocked down. It didn’t matter. Rigondeaux was dominant, winning 117-109 and 114-112 on two judges’ scorecards, though one judge somehow saw it 114-112 for Cordoba.


Date: December 31, 2014

Location: Bodymaker Colosseum, Osaka, Japan

At stake: Rigondeaux’s WBA/WBO super bantamweight titles

Records at the time: Rigondeaux 14-0, (8 KOs), Amagasa 28-4-2, (19 KOs)

Result: Rigondeaux TKO 11 (3:00)

Significance: This is where Rigondeaux’s storied amateur past shined. He had been all over the world as a Cuban Olympian, so fighting almost literally in an opponent’s backyard, as he did for Hisashi Amagasa, didn’t phase him. Neither did the adversity he had to overcome in the seventh round. With 26 seconds left in the stanza, Amagasa did something no one had ever done to Rigondeaux and that’s firmly plant him on his tail with a blunt right. Four years earlier, Rigondeaux had touched the canvas in a flash knockdown to Ricardo Cordoba. This time, Rigondeaux was in real trouble. He was out on his feet and seemed to be thrown down a second time in the closing seconds of the seventh, which referee Mike Ortega called a knockdown. That seemed to wake up Rigondeaux. Facing a six-inch height disadvantage to the 5-10 Amagasa, Rigondeaux knocked him down in the 10th with a straight left. After seeing their fighter in serious trouble at the end of the 11th, Amagasa’s corner saw enough and ended it before the last round.

1 Nonito Donaire

Date: April 13, 2013

Location: Radio City Music Hall, New York

At stake: Rigondeaux’s WBA/WBO super bantamweight titles

Records at the time: Rigondeaux 11-0, (8 KO), Donaire 31-1, (20 KO)

Result: Rigondeaux UD 12 (116-111, 115-112, 114-113)

Significance: This victory only ages better with time, since Nonito Donaire remains very viable at 38 as the WBC bantamweight champion. Donaire entered the fight on a 30-bout winning streak. He was coming off the greatest year of his career in 2012, universally accepted as the Fighter of the Year. Since 2007, he had been on an amazing run, winning world titles at flyweight, bantamweight and super bantamweight. He was one of HBO’s darlings. Rigondeaux burst the bubble. His handspeed, his angles, his superior footwork caused problems for Donaire, who Rigondeaux made look slow. Rigondeaux out countered a counterpuncher. Rigondeaux arguably won the first nine rounds, which Donaire sensed by the way he attacked Rigondeaux in the 10th. With 2:16 left in the round, Donaire finally caught up to Rigondeaux, planting him on the canvas with a solid overhand left to the face. Rigondeaux bounced back to his feet and went into boxing mode, forcing Donaire to chase him. Donaire was never able to catch up to the stylist, saying afterward that Rigondeaux used “beautiful boxing” to win. Rigondeaux found another gear that Donaire could not stay with. Rigondeaux didn’t just win—he ruled a future Hall of Famer making it his greatest victory.

For a closer look at Guillermo Rigondeaux, check out his fighter page. 

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