Is Guillermo Rigondeaux The Next Finito Lopez?
Cuban southpaw Guillermo Rigondeaux took the starch out Thailand’s veteran Sod Kokietgym and taught him a valuable lesson in defending himself at all times.
Kokietgym must have blinked because a half second after attempting to touch gloves with Rigondeaux he was met with a crisp right and left that floored him for the count on Saturday at Macau, China.
Rigondeaux (14-0, 9 Kos) retains the WBO and WBA junior featherweight world titles and proved to his Cuban brethren, fans and others that you don’t need to run around to be exciting. Timing, defense and rattlesnake quickness can serve just as well.
One boxing expert likens Rigondeaux to Mexico’s great Ricardo “Finito” Lopez. That’s a great comparison. Lopez was a flyweight who was conservative with his punches but seldom if ever ran away. One of his greatest wins came against another prizefighter from Thailand, Ratanapol Sor Vorapin, who he met in Las Vegas in 2000. Things were going smoothly for the Thai fighter when suddenly Lopez struck and Vorapin was counted out.
Later that week, I met with Sugar Shane Mosley, who was at the height of his power after defeating Oscar De La Hoya in a battle of Los Angeles-based welterweights a few months earlier. When we analyzed Lopez’s knockout the Pomona speedster said his assumption after watching it over and over was that Vorapin blinked and Lopez fired an uppercut in that instant.
It was amazing stuff.
Rigondeaux does have that kind of quickness and astuteness.
When Rigondeaux met Rico Ramos for his WBO world title at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas in January 2012, many expected a chess match filled with moves and counter moves. Rigondeaux sliced through any apprehensions with the precision of a neurosurgeon. After six rounds the fight was over.
Too bad Rigondeaux is already 33 years old. But what a fighter. I’m sold on Rigondeaux.
Gennady Golovkin defends the IBO and WBA belts against former champion Daniel Geale but already there’s mention of a possible showdown with WBC champion Miguel Cotto. Before any analysis it should be mentioned that Cotto stayed at Golovkin’s camp in Big Bear Lake recently. Another who stayed in the mountain training camp a few years earlier was Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Both sparred a little with Golovkin but not much. Cotto and Alvarez know what they would be getting into. Maybe that’s one of the reasons Canelo refuses to move into the middleweight division. Smart thinking.
Win or Leave
Frankie Gomez headlines a fight card on Friday at Fantasy Springs Casino. The once heralded junior welterweight has failed to live up to the expectations Golden Boy Promotions once had for the East L.A. bred boxer. Though he’s undefeated Gomez has had problems with managers and the long arm of the law. This might be Gomez’s last hurrah should he lose to the very capable Vernon Paris.
In Ontario, two Thompson Boxing Promotions prizefighters could be cut by the Orange County-based promoters. Efrain Esquivias (17-3-1) meets Chris Martin (27-3-3) in a featherweight clash at the Doubletree Hotel. Esquivias had people delirious with excitement after he knocked out legendary Mexican Rafael Marquez last summer. Martin never has delivered since signing with Thompson. The loser will probably be cut.
A female boxing star has blossomed in San Diego with Tijuana’s Kenia Enriquez proving she’s not hype with several victories. If you get a chance check out the junior flyweight. She has skills and tenacity. Enriquez will be the main event at Crowne Plaza Hotel.
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