Prediction: Can Rigondeaux Soar With A Win Over Agbeko
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ –
Win Guillermo Rigondeaux derailed Nonito Donaire’s meteoric rise to win the WBO super bantamweight belt in decisive fashion he should have been heralded as the next star, but he wasn’t. His defensive minded, strike and move style was deemed boring and non fan-friendly.
It’s safe to say life as the champion in the post-Donaire era hasn’t been the plush seat Rigondeaux envisioned. Since April’s high profile win, Rigondeaux’s career is a hot bed of discussion. Everyone from boxing fans, his promoter, and the network (HBO) that broadcasts his fights chose not to include Rigondeaux in their highest regard for boxers discussions.
When Rigondeaux returns to the ring Saturday night against Joseph Agbeko of Ghana, he finds himself not only working for a win but trying to craft a performance that will excite his naysayers. An exhibition that will showcase a style counter to the Cuban system that raised him and took him to the title.
Should we expect to see a different Jackal in the ring Saturday night? I’m not optimistic. I say with above average confidence that Rigondeaux will emerge victorious but victory will come clothed just like all his victories: circling like a cobra, striking his prey and watching them crumble. While supporters will herald the championship performance and beat the drum declaring him the best pure boxer out there, his doubters will use it to fuel their disdain once more.
Joseph Agbeko (current interim IBO bantamweight champion, this belt is not on the line) has four fights to his credit since 2010. A win against Yonnhy Perez that earned him the IBF bantamweight title in 2010, two consecutive losses in 2011 to Abner Mares (one controversial due to Mares not receiving point deductions for low blows in a closely scored bout) that cost him the belt, and a hard fought battle against Luis Melendez that earned him a unanimous win this past March. Tough and aggressive, Agbeko brings his own technical abilities to the ring that will test Rigondeaux’s patience.
So who wins? Not lacking any punch power and technical ability, Agbeko’s lack of action in recent years could prove costly. Even if he enters the ring in prime condition, rust can slow down the healthiest fighter. Rigondeaux, on the other hand, shows no signs of slowing down. Fighting after the longest lay off of his career in recent years (8 months) he’s still fresher and faster than Agbeko has been in the last few years.
Decision: Rigondeaux by unanimous decision. He will continue to be the dominate bantamweight force but, it will not elevate him into the next level of boxing popularity.
Is Rigondeaux a boring fighter? Has Top Rank been giving him the shaft compared to their other current champions? Should Rigondeaux change with the times and make changes to the style that got him where he is.
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