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Rigondeaux beats Francisco, fails to impress

By Tim Fletcher: Cuban two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux (16-0, 10 KOs) won a one-sided 10 round unanimous decision over the 33-year-old Drian Francisco (28-3-1, 22 KOs) tonight in a fight that was booed from start to finish at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The southpaw Rigondeaux picked Francisco off at will throughout the fight. It was so one-sided that it was boring. Rigondeaux would have likely gone after Francisco to try and stop him, but he appeared much lighter than him and he was cautious of his punching power. Rigondeaux won the fight by the judges’ scores of 100-90, 100-90 and somehow 97-93.

Francisco’s inability to land any of his shots cleanly bothered him, and by the 8th round, he was showing his frustration by standing up and not fighting. He stopped fighting briefly in then 8th, 9th and 10th rounds, as if to show the referee and the boxing fans that Rigondeaux didn’t want to engage with him. But what the reality was that Francisco wasn’t talented enough to force Rigondeaux into a war. A good fighter could force the Cuban star into a war, but not a limited guy like Francisco. He was just too slow, too reluctant to press the action hard, and not smart enough to force Rigondeaux into the fight that he wanted from him.

You could tell that Francisco had excellent power, but just couldn’t land too many of his shots tonight. This was supposed to have been a showcase fight for Rigondeaux on the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Miguel Cotto fight card on HBO pay-per-view, but instead of it being an impressive performance from Rigondeaux, it was a real let down.

To say that the 35-year-old Rigondeaux could have done more in this fight is putting it lightly. Rigondeaux was facing a guy in Francisco who had recently been knocked out in the 1st round by the unheralded Jason Canoy last May.

I don’t think anyone would ever assume a fighter like Canoy would be competitive with Rigondeaux, which is why he should have done more against Francisco tonight because he was in with a guy that was clumsy, awkward and clearly not in the same class as him.

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