Guillermo Rigondeaux displayed world-class skills in the biggest fight of his professional career, putting on a boxing clinic against Nonito Donaire en route to a unanimous decision. With the convincing win, Rigondeaux handed the highly regarded Filipino Flash his first loss in 12 years.
While it wasn’t the all-action fight that some had predicted, it was impressive watching Rigondeaux execute the true definition of ring generalship, fighting at his desired pace and landing meaningful shots from different angles throughout the 12-round bout.
Rigondeaux did get caught with a good punch and was floored in Round 10, but he was able to overcome the knockdown and continued working his game plan for the remainder of the fight.
Donaire never really seemed to know what to do with Rigo’s movement, following the slick southpaw the whole fight without effectively cutting off the ring. Midway through the bout, trainer Robert Garcia began to implore his fighter to throw more punches, but Donaire was never able to let his hands go. Other than the round in which Donaire floored Rigondeaux, it was hard to find a round to score for the Filipino Flash.
In his post-fight interview with HBO’s Max Kellerman (h/t Yahoo Sports), Donaire admitted to not having studied Rigondeaux, though he said he took nothing away from El Chacal. It became obvious early that Donaire was simply looking to land one big shot, perhaps buying too much into the pre-fight hype regarding Rigondeaux’s suspect chin.
Yes, Donaire was able to knock Rigondeaux down, but like the Cuban fighter said in the post-fight interview, you can’t just win a fight with one punch.
While Harold Lederman—HBO’s unofficial judge—had the fight 118-109 for Rigondeaux, the official scorecards were a little closer:
HBOboxing (@HBOboxing) April 14, 2013
The final CompuBox numbers show that Rigondeaux controlled the fight by throwing and landing more punches:
CompuBox (@CompuBox) April 14, 2013
So where do both men go from here?
Donaire said after the fight that if a rematch does take place, it will have to be at a higher weight class. With the masterful boxing performance that Rigondeaux put on, it’s hard to imagine that anyone will be eager to face the southpaw.
If Rigondeaux decides to move in weight—like Donaire plans to do—a number of enticing fights can be made, including one against Donaire’s stablemate, Mikey Garcia.
With Donaire likely to take a break from boxing to spend time with his family and have surgery on his shoulder, Rigondeaux will probably have to look elsewhere for his next fight.
Let us know who you would like each man to face next.