Guillermo Rigondeaux to return to the ring in Dec. or Jan.
By Chris Williams: Former WBA/WBO super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-1, 11 KOs) will be back inside the ring in December or January against an opponent still to be determined, according to RingTV. The 38-year-old Rigondeaux, who is now signed with Al Haymon of Premier Boxing Champions, could have the 2-time Olympic gold medalist back in action on December 22 or January 13. If Rigondeaux fights on December 22, he would wind up on the undercard of Jermall Charlo vs. Willie Monroe Jr. at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
That’s a stacked card with Jermall’s brother WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo (31-0, 15 KOs) facing Tony Harrison in the co-feature.
At 38-years-old, there’s probably not much Rigondeux can do at his age. He’s not fought in a years, and he’ll be ring rusty when he does return to the ring to fight the younger lions at 122. It would be a bad idea for Premier Boxing Champions boss Al Haymon to put Rigondeaux in with WBO super bantamweight champion Issac Dogboe. Rigondeaux would have a chance of beating IBF champion Terence TJ Doheny and WBA belt holder Daniel Roman if he could get a fight against either of them. Rigondeaux shouldn’t hold his breath waiting for either of those guys to fight him. WBC champion Rey Vargas (32-0, 22 KOs) might have too much size, power and youth for Rigondeaux.
If Rigondeaux is placed on the January 13 card, he would be fighting on the undercard of IBF super middleweight champion Jose Uzcategui vs. Caleb Plant on FS1 at the Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles, California. That card is still being formed, so there’s a better chance that Rigondeaux ends up on the card.
Rigondeaux hasn’t fought since losing to former World Boxing Organization super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko by a 6th round stoppage 11 months ago in December 2017. Rigondeaux disappeared after that loss, which he planed on a hand injury. Rigondeaux didn’t have the natural size and power to compete against the bigger Lomachenko after moving up two weight classes to challenge him for his title. Lomachenko didn’t give Rigondeaux a catchweight. He had to move up two divisions to take the fight, and it was never going to be a good deal for him.
Expecting a guy that is small even for the division he competes in at super bantamweight to come up two weight classes to fight one of the best fighters at super featherweight, it was asking for too much from the Cuban fighter. Rigondeaux will be fighting in his old weight class at super bantamweight. That was the only logical choice for him to do. It would be a mistake for Rigondeaux to stay at super featherweight to fight against guys that rehyrate well past 140 lbs. Rigondeaux rehydrates to 126 lbs. when fighting at super bantamweight. For him to stay at super featherweight would be impossible. Even fighting at featherweight would be a tough ask for Rigondeaux. He’s too light to fight against the top guys in that division. If Rigdondeaux did move up, he would need to fight against the likes of Gary Russell Jr., Leo Santa Cruz, Oscar Valdez, Carl Frampton and Josh Warrington. Rigondeaux would have a chance against Warrigton, but not against Valdez, Santa Cruz or Russell Jr. Haymon could certainly match Rigondeaux up against Russell Jr. and Santa Cruz, but without a catchweight, he would be too small to compete against those fighters.
Rigondeaux has previously fought for Top Rank and Roc Nation before signing with Haymon. While with Top Rank, Rigondeaux beat 2012 fighter of the year Nonito Donaire by a one-sided 12 round decision in 2013. That was the high point of Rigondeaux’s career. It’s been downhill since then despite the fact that he only recently lost for the first time. After Rigondeaux’s win over Donaire, he was arguably frozen out of any big fights against the promoters for the fighters. Rigondeaux couldn’t get a rematch with Donaire, and he was unable to get fights against Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg. Instead of getting those tyoes of fights, Rigondeaux had to be satisfied fighting these guys:
– Joseph Agbeko
– Anusorn Yotjan
– Hisashi Amagasa
– Drian Francisco
– James Dickens
– Moises Flores
When Rigondeaux finally did get a big fight against Lomachenko, he had to go up two weight divisions to take it. Asking Lomachenko to do the same thing by going up to 140 to fight the likes of Regis Prograis would likely be turned down flat, as he would be in the same boat at Rigondeaux was. At certain point, it doesn’t matter how much skill a fighter has, If he’s facing a guy that outweighs him by 15 to 20 lbs, he’s going to lose. Lomachenko would be at a huge risk of being knocked cold if he did the same thing Rigondeaux did in moving up two weight divisions without a catchweight.
Rigondeaux at this point would be smart if he were to move down to bantamweight to try his hand at that weight class. Moving back down to super bantamweight would be a mistake on Rigondeaux’s part due to the division having too may big punchers now.
Khalid Yafai ordered by WBA to defend against Norberto Jimenez
WBA super flyweight champion Khalid Yafai (25-0, 15 KOs) got some bad news this week with the World Boxing Association ordering him to defend his title against #1 challenger Noberto Jimenez (29-8-4, 16 KOs). Yafai’s promoters at Matchroom Sport have 30 days to make a deal with the management for the 27-year-old Jimenez. If a deal isn’t reached within 30 days, it’ll go to a purse bid. Yafai, 29, has 90 days to defend his WBA belt against Jimenez before the sanctioning body strips him of his title. Yafai looks like hes outgrown the 115 lb division.
Yafai, 29 has held the WBA title for two years since beating Luis Concepcion by a 12 round unanimous decision in 2016 to win the vacant WBA 115 lb strap. Yafai has successfully defended the belt four times. However, he looked poor in beating Israel Gonzalez by controversial 12 round unanimous decision this month on November 24 at the Casino de Monte Carlo Salle Medecin, Monte Carlo. Gonzalez fought well enough to deserve the win, but the judges all gave Yafai the decision win. The way that Yafai fought, he looked weight drained, and there’s a lot of speculation abut whether it’s time for him to move up to bantamweight. Yafai’s promoter Eddie Hearn has spoken of wanting to match him against former four division world champion Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, but that fight likely won’t happen yet. Roman suffered a leg injury this month, causing him to pull out of his December 8 fight against Pedro Guevara.
Jimenez has improved a great deal from the fighter he was seven to eight years ago. He’s won his 27 of his last 28 fights in the last seven years. Jimenez hasn’t lost a fight in seven years. However, most of his opponents were horrible. The only quality guy Jimenez has fought in that period is Kohei Kono, who he fought to a 12 round draw in 2014.
It’s going to be tough for Yafai to beat Jimenez legitimately if he fights like he did against Gonzalez. Yafai can obviously beat Jimenez is the fight is staged in the UK, and if there’s similar judging as we saw in the Yafai vs Israel Gonzalez fight. Yafai can win by controversy. what we don’t know is if he an win decisively enough to where the boxing fans won’t claim that it as another robbery.