For years, the knock on Guillermo Rigondeaux was that his fighting style didn’t make for TV-friendly fights.
Even as he has fought more flat-footed in the twilight of his career, the two-time Olympic Gold medalist and lineal junior featherweight champion still feels like he’s not getting flowers.
The latest entry to support his case comes ahead of his August 14 showdown with WBO bantamweight titlist John Riel Casimero (30-4, 21KOs) at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The consensus opinion is that Philippines’ Casimero will press the action while Rigondeaux—a gifted Cuban southpaw now based out of Miami—will look to turn a fight into a boxing match.
“Everyone is talking about Casimero’s power. Nobody is talking about my power,” Rigondeaux noted during a recent virtual press conference to discuss the upcoming Showtime-televised title fight. “I feel like I am being underestimated.”
It’s easy to understand why Casimero is expected to deliver on the entertainment front. The 32-year-old, three-division titlist from Ormoc City, Philippines has scored knockout wins in each of his last six starts. Included among that stretch is his stopping Ricardo Espinoza in the twelfth and final round of their April 2019 WBO “interim” title fight and then winning the full belt in a third-round knockout of Zolani Tete in November 2019.
In his most recent fight, Casimero knocked out previously unbeaten Duke Micah in the third round of their title fight last September in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Rigondeaux earned back-to-back knockout wins after suffering the lone defeat of his career, when he was stopped after seven rounds by then-WBO junior lightweight titlist Vasilily Lomachenko in December 2017. The bout took place two divisions above Rigondeaux’s ideal weight, dropping back down to 122 where he scored a confidence-restoring first-round knockout of Giovanni Delgado in January 2019. Five months later came perhaps the most thrilling win of his career, an eighth-round stoppage of former WBC junior featherweight titlist Julio Ceja in June 2019 to defend his lineal 122-pound championship.
Rigondeaux has since added a secondary version of the WBA bantamweight title following a twelve-round split decision win over Liborio Solis last February. Rigondeaux floored the former junior bantamweight titlist in the seventh round en route to victory and insists he has been working on his power—among other areas—during training camp, to the point of warning the public to not be surprised if he stops Casimero in their fight next month.
He stopped short of doubling down on that promise, though cautioning to not sleep on all the gifts that he brings to the table.
“I believe in my power. That’s the bottom line,” notes Rigondeaux. “I’m not a trash talker. Everything I can do, I plan to show in the ring. The ultimate goal is to win the fight. It won’t be the first or the last time that I will rise to the occasion. I will fight the way I always have once we are in Los Angeles.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox