Guillermo Rigondeaux may not be the slick technician he used to be, and for fight fans, that might be great news.
In a phone booth war with Julio Ceja, Rigondeaux knocked out the Meixcan with a left hand in round eight, winning a WBC super bantamweight title eliminator.
Rigondeaux (19-1, 13 KO) stayed right in the pocket with Ceja (32-4, 28 KO) for the entire fight, and Ceja landed far more punches on the Cuban southpaw than we usually see.
BLH had the fight 67-66 for Ceja at the time of the stoppage, largely on the fact that he was outworking Rigondeaux in most rounds by enough that it made the difference.
But Rigondeaux was definitely landing plenty of his own leather, too, and his shots did seem sharper throughout. In the eighth round, both fighters lost a point due to low blows — Russell Mora made the deductions at the same time — and then Rigondeaux connected on a clean, huge left hand that put Ceja down.
Ceja did get up, but Mora looked at the eyes and stopped the fight there. You could perhaps argue it was an early stoppage, but I don’t think it was so early that I don’t defer to the referee in this case.
Bottom line, it was a very entertaining, all-action fight, and if you’re someone who has started to skip Rigo bouts out of habit, this is one you should seek out.
“People were saying I run a lot. That’s not true. I showed I can fight at short distance. The left came and that ended the fight,” Rigondeaux said through a translator after the fight.
As for Rigondeaux, 38, maybe he fought to prove he can fight this style, but he’s also getting up there in years, has had an incredibly long career when you count his years as a dominant amateur, and his body has to be slowing down.
Yet even if he just can’t move the way he used to, he still puts punches together nicely, still lands clean, and can bang at 122 enough to keep him very dangerous against anyone at the weight.