WBA strips Guillermo Rigondeaux of 122lb title
By Sean Jones: Guillermo Rigondeaux’s 6th round stoppage loss to WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko has resulted in him being stripped of his WBA Super World super bantamweight title by the World Boxing Association for his defeat on December 9.
It’s a bad deal for the 37-year-old Rigondeaux (17-1, 11 KOs), as he didn’t even defend the title. He moved up in weight to 2 weight classes to challenge Lomachenko for his WBO 130lb. title, and he lost the fight by a 6th round TKO after retiring on his stool after round 6. Rigondeaux hurt his left hand, and he couldn’t continue fighting.
The defeat for the 2-time Olympic gold medalist Rigondeaux was his first as a pro. Rigondeaux hadn’t lost a fight since his amateur days in Cuba. The WBA had made a decision that if Rigondeaux had won the fight, he would have been given 5 days to make up his mind whether he would stay at super featherweight or come back down to the super bantamweight division to resume defending his WBA 122lb. title. Rigondeaux lost the fight unfortunately for him, and the WBA chose to strip him of his title. That was something they had discussed before the fight with Lomachenko as well. Rigondeaux has not only lost his WBA super bantamweight title, but he’s also been removed from the top 15 by the sanctioning body. That’s going to make it doubly tough for Rigondeaux to try and work his way back up to get a title shot to win back his WBA title.
The WBA now has only 1 champion at super bantamweight, and that’s Daniel Roman, who previously was the WBA ‘regular’ 122lb. champion. Moises Flores is the interim WBA super bantamweight champion. Rigondeaux is well familiar with Flores, as he knocked him out in the 1st round last June. The results were overturned and changed to a no contest by the WBA due to Rigondeaux hitting Flores after the bell.
Rigondeaux might move up to the featherweight division, according to his Alex Bornote, who told Dan Rafael of ESPN that there’s a possibility that he could move to 126. Rigondeaux is unranked by all 4 of the sanctioning bodies at 122, which suggests that he’s going to have a really tough time getting in position to fight for a world title if he remains in the division.
“We had to pay the WBA a [$15,000] fee to get a special permit to fight Lomachenko for his WBO title, and the WBA said we’d lose the [super bantamweight] belt if we lost he fight,” said Bornote to ESPN.com, in talking about Rigondeaux having to pay $15K to the WBA to get permission to move up 2 divisions to face Lomachenko for his WBO super featherweight title. ”So, in essence, we were fighting for both belts that night. But at that point we had already signed for the fight, so what are we gonna do? Was he not going to fight?”
It was a bad deal all around for Rigondeaux. He got the smaller end of a 75-25 split of the purse for the Lomachenko fight, and then he lost his WBA super bantamweight title that he never even defended. Rigondeaux loses the money he paid to the WBA for permission to fight Lomachenko, and then on top of that, he’s removed from the rankings. Rigondeaux can stay at 122, but not being ranked by any of the sanctioning bodies puts him in a really bad position.
Rigondeaux’s contract with Roc Nation Sports expires in the summer, and it’s unknown whether they’ll re-sign him or not. The fact that Rigondeaux is no longer a world champion and ranked by any of the sanctioning bodies makes it hard to imagine that he’ll be re-inked by Roc Nation. But as talented as Rigondeaux is, he’s going to get signed by one of the promoters if Roc Nation doesn’t decide to resign him.
Rigondeaux should have known better than to move up 2 weight classes to take on Lomachenko. Just looking at how much heavier Lomachenko was compared to Rigondeaux, it was never going to be a fair fight. Lomachenko looked big for the weight class even before Rigondeaux fought him. Lomachenko should move up to the lightweight division, but he’s been slow in making that move.
If Rigondeaux were to fight in the UK, he might become a popular fighter over there. His bout with James Dickens in 2016 attracted a lot of attention in Wales, Cardiff. Rigondeaux stopped Dickens in the 2nd round. That was at super bantamweight.
It might not be a good idea for Rigondeaux to move up to featherweight. The top super featherweights in the division are strong punchers, and they look heavy after they rehydrate. Rigondeaux would have problems with the size and punching power of Gary Russell Jr., Oscar Valdez, Carl Frampton, and Leo Santa Cruz. That’s not to say that he couldn’t beat them, but it would be hard for him to handle their size and power. Rigondeaux is a natural bantamweight, who rehydrates to just a little over 122 at 126. Even the guys at super bantamweight outweigh Rigondeaux after they rehydrate. If Rigondeaux moves up to featherweight, he’s going to be in with fighters that are likely going to have a 10 to 15 pound weight advantage over him.