Not too long ago, less than a year ago, many, many experts (us included) picked Guillermo Rigondeaux to jump up two weight classes and shock ESPN and Top Ranks favorite son Vasyl Lomachenko. Such a dramatic victory on such a big stage would have made Rigo perhaps the pound for pound champ and the king of the smaller weight classes. He would have been the worlds biggest little man. That certainly didn’t happen, Rigo lost every minute of every round, with the exception of maybe an even, uneventful first round, and embarrassingly quit on his stool after the 6th round when he had a point deducted for holding and then said he was unable to continue because of a hand injury. A shocking unexpected chain of events no one ever expected from Rigondeaux, the consummate professional! So a year older and another year out of the ring, where does El Chacal go from here? How does he rebuild?
Rigondeaux has put together an amazing career as a sweet scientist at both the professional and amateur levels. As an amateur, he won two Olympic gold medals in the 2000 and 2004 games both gold medals came in the bantamweight division. He won gold medals in the pan am games, the World Championships twice and the World Cup Of Boxing. He did everything imaginable as an amateur, compiling an unreal record of 463-12. When the Cuban decided to defect for Miami and try his hand as a professional, El Chacal continued his streak of success, turning pro in 2009, and running off seven straight victories to start his career that lead him to a world title shot on the worlds biggest stage (literally the biggest Jerry Jones Cowboy Stadium) Rigondeaux outpointed Ricardo Cordoba and captured the interim WBA 122-pound title, winning it on the worlds biggest stage, literally the biggest stage Jerry Jones Cowboy stadium, by outpointing Ricardo Cordoba. A pretty impressive resume that helped Rigo shoot up pound for pound lists of experts and pundits everywhere. Despite the success, something was missing. HBO didn’t like him at all, Jim Lampley hatred and childish anger that caused him to petition the Nevada commission to overturn Rigo’s first-round KO of Flores and change it to a No Contest. He got dropped by Top Rank and was without a promoter for a while. Rigo one of the best fighters on the face of the earth with a unique skill set was without a promoter and TV network. Causing him to take the short side of the stick and agreeing to a purse of only $400k to fight Loma who was making $1.5mill in one of the most anticipated and watched fights of the year. Just to throw some salt in the wounds the WBA stripped him of his super bantamweight strap because he lost to a guy two weight classes bigger.
El Chacal has a unique skill set, he is a fundamentally perfect southpaw with dynamite in his left hand. It’s rare that a defensive specialist who is impossible to to also have that much power in one hand combine that with the fact that HBO labeled him as boring, it made it nearly impossible for Rigo to get big fights because he was “boring” guys like Santas Cruz and Mares had all the reason they needed to not fight him. They even jumped out of the division prematurely to not have to deal with El Chacal. Now fortune seems to be turning around for Rigo who has signed with Al Haymon and PBC. If nothing else El Chacal is going to cash in on some much-deserved paydays. Rigo, even at 38, has the skills and now the promotional outfit behind him to make one last push at greatness, however at 38, he is going to have to move quickly! A tune-up fight by years end with a return to 122 should be made official and announced in the very near future. Moving forward 2019 and 2020 will probably be the final two years of his career. So who is realistic and his available for Rigo to fight? Daniel Roman holds the belt that was stripped from Rigo last year, (WBA super bantamweight) that’s a very winnable fight, it makes sense and is a safe fight for the Cuban. It makes him relevant and a world champion again. After picking up that strap a jump up to 126 seems likely. 126 is where the big money PBC names are out, a fight with Gary Russell Jr. at that weight is a boxing purest dreams fight and a conflict in style with Leo Santa Cruz, who Rigo has accused of ducking him in the past could be made as well. These type of names could help cement the legacy of Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Rigondeaux has had his share of promotional issues and difficulties getting big fights and sometimes fights at all. Perhaps that’s all about to change, maybe the combination of signing with Al Haymon and having suffered his first career loss made him look beatable? Perhaps the aura of invincibility is gone and the money to fight him will be right for maybe Russell Jr and Santa Cruz to step up and give Rigo a chance to not only cash in on his skill set, which has never been in question, but also too achieve the level of greatness that he seemed destined to achieve when he first set foot in Miami, USA in 2009.