Being a two time gold-medal winner in the Olympics isn’t enough to make you popular, and winning titles at Batmanweight won’t do the trick either if you’re not a boxer people like to watch. Guillermo Rigondeaux pulled off a huge win over one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, Nonito Donaire, but isn’t going to help him or the world of boxing in any kind of way.
Because for boxing to climb back up the popularity ladder, it needs boxers who are fun to watch. Rigondeaux, nicknamed the Jackal, is an expert defensively, but simply put hardly throws any punches his rivals’ way. He made Donaire look like a fool for most of the fight, and still entered the final two rounds behind on the scorecards, and only because of Donaire holding back for some reason in those rounds came up with the win.
And while Rigondeaux came up with the WBO & Ring title belts for the Super Batamweight division, it’s not going to make him a household name among those who aren’t boxing experts, or any easier to sell for a promoter such as Bob Arum, who had the same problem with Timothy Bradley beating Manny Pacquiao. It’s a huge win, and Bradley is an excellent fighter, but until his most recent fight against Ruslan Provodnikov, which should go down as the fight of the year unless something remarkable happens from now until December 31, was mostly boring to watch.
I’m a Hall of Famer at 12-0. I was the matador and he was the bull. People don’t like rooting for the matador or seeing him win.
Nonito Donaire is going to take a break for a few months – he needs to have surgery done on his right shoulder, another reason he wasn’t at his best in a fight that should have been his triumphant goodbye from a division he has dominated for the past 12 months before he moves on to Featherweight. With his wife due to have a baby, he’ll likely be away from the ring until September at least, and the next time he’ll fight will be in a higher weight class.
Rigondeaux began fighting unprofessionally only in 2009, at the age of 29. There’s no doubt he’s an excellent fighter, but that means nothing in today’s world, where your entertainment value is what counts – not the amount of wins and title belts you have. Like someone said after the fights – he’s an excellent fighter, slick as possibly can be, comparing him to Floyd Mayweather. Unlike Mayweather, Rigondeaux is refraining from showing he can throw a punch or two, so far preferring what he calls the “Cuban” style to beat his opponents, which won’t make him too many fans.