Guillermo Rigondeaux had an amazing amateur career. He won Olympic gold twice and is currently the WBA Super Bantamweight Champion, but as of yet as a professional he is still untested.
Guillermo has fought only 11 times since turning professional in 2009 and his competition has been, well, less than stellar. Is it his fault? No, not really. Well, maybe he may have something to do with it. He has called out other top fighters in his division, but they all turned him down. It was not his skill that had anything to do with it, but it’s more so whether or not he has earned the right to face the top fighters. Surely with only 11 fights as a professional, you are not entitled to fight the biggest and the best in your division. You are not even considered a contender with that amount of fights. Nevertheless, he still has a title which is a good marketing tool for any fighter, but with the amount of titles that are available in boxing today it’s not as hard as it used to be in the past to become a champion. He is a skilled fighter, and his late start in the pro ranks may have played a part in the amount of fights that he has participated in, but when your greatest victory is over Rico Ramos, it’s hard not to question his level of opposition.
But this is boxing. Along with boxing comes its politics. With Top Rank and Golden Boy refusing to work with each other, the playing field is definitely a lot narrower.
Fans have spoken of somewhat of a dream match between Nonito Donaire and Guillermo Rigondeaux for quite some time. Even though Rigondeaux has wanted the bout, Donaire had said repeatedly that he had not earned it yet and needed to build on his experience.
When a fallout for a proposed bout between Abner Mares and Nonito Donaire happened earlier in the year, Donaire had a change of heart and suddenly Rigondeaux was talented and experienced enough for him to fight.
Donaire has already beat the majority of the top fighters, so the only thing left for him to do at his weight class is to unify the titles before moving up in weight.
For Rigondeaux, this will be the greatest test in his entire career in boxing, amateur or pro. The biggest question going into this fight is not about his skill but more about his ability to face adversity and his ability to absorb a blow from a puncher of Donaire’s caliber. With Rigondeaux facing lesser opposition, he has been shaken up by fighters with less punching power than Donaire. If Donaire is able to break through Rigondeaux’s defense and lands a monstrous shot, it may put Rigondeaux down and out for good.
Come April 13th we will have questions answered about both fighters but possibly new questions may arise. Can Rigondeaux pass his greatest test and silence his critics? We will have to wait and see, but the wait is not too far away.