By Barry Holbrook: Bantamweight champions John Riel Casimero and Guillermo Rigondeaux are in negotiations for a unification fight in March or April. ‘The Jackal’ Rigondeaux (20-1, 13 KOs0 holds the WBA ‘regular’ 118-lb title, and Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) is the WBO bantamweight champion.
The inner of the Casimero vs. Rigondeaux fight is expected to take on IBF/WBA 118lb champion Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue in a unification fight in 2021.
At this point in the 40-year-old Rigondeaux’s career, he could have difficulty dealing with the punching power and talent of Casimero.
Rigondeaux coming off big win over Solis
Although Rigondeaux is looking rejuvenated since moving down from the 122-lb division last March, he’s still 40, and he’s going to have a lot of problems with Casimero’s youth and punching power.
Rigondeux defeated Liborio Solis by a 12 round split decision earlier this year on February 8 to win the vacant WBA ‘regular’ bantamweight title. That was the debut for the 11-year pro Rigondeaux at bantamweight, and he fought well in beating the 38-year-old Solis.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist Rigondeaux dropped Solis in the seventh round, but he had to go fight hard in the championship rounds to get the win.
Rigondeaux is a good fighter still, and he’s won his last three fights in beating Solis, Julio Ceja, and Giovanni Delgado.
In 2018, Rigondeaux moved up two weight classes to challenge former WBO super featherweight champion, Vasily Lomachenko, but he was stopped in the sixth round. Lomachenko had too much size, too high of a work rate, and too much youth for Rigondeux to deal with.
Casimero, 31, was hoping to take on Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17 KOs) this year, but the pandemic has gotten in the way of things. He still wants Inoue, but he’s going to need to take care of Rigondeaux first.
Casimero looking impressive at 118
In Casimero’s last fight, he successfully defended his WBO 118-pound title in stopping the previously unbeaten Duke Micah in the third round on September 26th on the Charlo brothers card in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Casimero arguably stole the show with his impressive win over Micah. At the post-fight news conference, Casimero was highly entertaining in talking about wanting to take on Inoue.
Sending a message to Inoue after the Micah fight, Casimero said, ‘You are not a Monster; you are a Japanese turtle. Inoue is scared of me. Come on. I don’t fight [Jason] Moloney because he’s easy for me. I want Inoue. He fights Jason Moloney. That’s easy, man,” said Casimero.
Last year in November, Casimero surprised a lot of boxing fans in blowing out WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete in a third-round knockout in Birmingham, England.
Going into the contest, a lot of fans were picking Tete to defeat Casimero, but it turned out to be a mismatch. Casimero has won his last six fights since losing a 12 round unanimous decision to Jonas Sultan in 2017.
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