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Guillermo Rigondeaux wants Naoya Inoue fight in 2020

Guillermo Rigondeaux Naoya Inoue Nonito Donaire

By Chris Williams: Former WBA/WBO super bantamweight champion Guillermo ‘The Jackal’ Rigondeaux (19-1, 13 KOs) is interested in taking on IBF/WBA 118-lb champion Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) in 2020, according to @ElNuevoHerald.


The 39-year-old Rigondeaux would trim down in weight challenge Inoue for his two titles at 118, which won’t be a big deal for the two-time Olympic gold medalist from Cuba.

Rigondeaux is with Premier Boxing Champions, whereas Inoue is signed with Top Rank. That could be a problem in making the match-up.  Guillermo isn’t as elusive and quick as he used to be, but his power is still there. He hasn’t lost any of his power, and it’ll be more devastating if he moves to 118 to face Naoya Inoue for his IBF/WBA straps.

With Inoue’s problems taking shots, he might not be able to handle getting hit back by a puncher like Rigondeaux. Inoue is in his element when he’s hitting guys that don’t punch back. He won’t be able to count on Rigondeaux not hitting him back. This could end badly for Inoue if he agrees to fight Rigondeaux.

Will Top Rank let Inoue fight Rigondeaux?

It’ll be interesting to see if Inoue’s new co-promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank Boxing gives the ‘Monster’ permission to face Rigondeaux. Arum might choose not to let Inoue face Rigondeaux if he has doubts about his ability to beat him. One would think that the 26-year-old Inoue’s 13-year age advantage over the 39-year-old Rigondeaux would be enough for him to beat him, but you never know. Rigondeaux is a great counter puncher, and his right hand power might be more devastating at 118.


Inoue suffered a fractured orbital bone in his 12 round decision win over Nonito Donaire last Saturday night in the WBSS tournament final in Saitama, Japan. If Rigondeaux lands something on that eye, you never know what could happen. Inoue doesn’t look like he belongs at 118, and might fall apart from the shots the wily Cuban talent lands on him. The eye injury may sideline Inoue for a while, and lead to tune-up fights.

Although Inoue reportedly says he plans on fighting on schedule in 2020, it’s difficult to imagine him being able to do that. If Inoue requires surgery to repair his fractured right eye socket, he may be out of the ring for an extensive period of time. Inoue complained of double vision out of his right eye from the early rounds against Donaire after getting nailed by a big shot. He was also badly cut over his right eye, and lumped up from the heavy shots from Nonito.

Donaire exposed Inoue

What Donaire showed last Thursday is Inoue doesn’t take shots well, and he looks VERY uncomfortable when he’s pressured. You can argue that Inoue has become spoiled from his many early knockouts against mediocre opposition. When he faces guys that don’t implode immediately, he looks unsure of himself, and gets tired and runs like crazy.

Six years ago, Rigondeaux defeated Nonito Donaire by a 12 round unanimous decision in April 2013. Donaire’s was promoted by Top Rank at the time, and they had trying to turn him into a superstar.

The defeat to Rigondeaux took a lot of momentum out of Donaire’s career, and he never did get back to where he was before the defeat. In response to the loss to Rigondeaux, Donaire made the decision to move up to featherweight, and his power wasn’t the same in that weight class.

Since then, Donaire’s career has sputtered. It was only recently where he finally got things together when he moved back down to 118, and did well in the World Boxing Super Series tournament. Unfortunately for Donaire, he was beaten in the final of the WBSS tourney by Inoue last Thursday night in Saitama, Japan.

Rigondeaux to fight Liborio Solis on December 21

Before Rigondeaux goes after a fight against the 26-year-old Inoue, he’ll be facing Liborio Solis for the vacant WBA World bantamweight title next month on December 21 on the Tony Harrison vs. Jermell Charlo 2 undercard at the Toyota Arena, in Ontario, California. It won’t be a problem for Rigondeaux to make weight at 118, because he’s always been small for the 122-b division.

Rigondeaux captured gold medals in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics for Cuba. He finished his amateur career with an incredible 463-12 record.

Since losing to Vasiliy Lomachenko in an ill-advised move up to super featherweight in December 2017, Rigondeaux has won his last two fights in beating Julio Ceja and Giovanni Delgado by knockout.

Inoue wants to face WBC bantamweight champion Nordine Ouabaali (17-0, 12 KOs) in a unification match. Ouabaali, 33, defeated Inoue’s brother Takuma Inoue by a 12 round decision last Thursday, and Naoya is said to want to avenge his loss. Obviously, Ouabaali and his promoters will need to be willing to make that match with Inoue. It would be pointless for Ouabaali to fight Inoue if he doesn’t think he can win the fight.


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