Agbeko: Donaire is a better fighter than Rigondeaux
By Chris Williams: Former IBF bantamweight champion Joseph Agbeko (29-4, 22 KO’s) isn’t giving WBA/WBO super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (12-0, 8 KO’s) much credit for his win over Nonito Donaire last April. Agbeko still thinks Donaire is more talented than Rigondeaux, and he feels that the only reason Donaire lost the fight was because he was trying to make it an exciting fight. If not for that, Agbeko thinks Donaire would have beaten Rigondeaux.
Agbeko and Rigondeaux will be facing each other on December 7th on HBO at the Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Agbeko likes his chances against Rigondeaux because he thinks Rigondeaux hasn’t been in with very many good fighters before. Agbeko is right about that, at least at the pro level.
You can’t expect a fighter with just 12 bouts on his resume to have been in with a ton of world class opposition compared to some with three times as many fights. With that said, Rigondeaux has a ton of amateur fights, plus two Olympic gold medals and a big victory over Donaire. That’s more than what Agbeko has accomplished.
Agbeko told thaboxingvoice “Apart from Donaire there are no other good men on his record other than Donaire. I believe Donaire is the better fighter than Rigondeaux. I think Donaire wanted to give the fans what they wanted to see so Donaire fell into his traps. Donaire couldn’t think about himself he wanted to give the boxing fans a good show so he followed Rigondeaux to fight the way Rigondeaux wanted him to fight which made Donaire look bad.”
Donaire sure looked like he was trying hard to beat Rigondeaux any way he could in that fight. The problem was Donaire didn’t have the hand speed to outbox Rigondeaux, and he wasn’t able to land his power shots with enough regularity to put Rigondeaux in any kind of trouble in the fight. It didn’t look to me like Donaire was just trying to impress his fans. It just looked like he didn’t have the hand speed to compete with Rigondeaux.
Whether that was because Donaire had recently put on weight and grown out of the super bantamweight division is unclear. We can’t know how Donaire would have done against Rigondeaux had the fight taken place a year or two ago when Donaire was easily making the 122 lb. division. We can speculate but we’ll never know for sure. The only way we could find out whether the weight was the thing that affected Donaire is if he would agree to fight Rigondeaux at 126, and so far Donaire hasn’t been willing to take the rematch.
Rigondeaux badly wants to fight Donaire again but he’s not made the move to make the fight happen. Donaire could easily tell their mutual promoter Bob Arum that he wants the rematch with Rigondeaux, and the fight would happen shortly after that. But that’s not happening. Instead of fighting Rigondeaux again to try and avenge his loss, Donaire is facing a way past his best 37-year-old Vic Darchinyan next month on November 9th.