Sunday, December 8, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Rigondeaux wins again
By Brian Campbell
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- It can be said that defensive and counterpunching wizard Guillermo Rigondeaux is likened to a $75 bottle of wine in a boxing world that prefers canned beer.
But even the taste of high-priced vino can fail to deliver the desired flavor when served in a paper cup.
Whether you're on the side of those who yawn or those who smile at the thought of watching the unbeaten junior featherweight champion dance around the ring and land flush counter shots for 12 full rounds, his opponent Saturday was expected to bring out the most crowd-pleasing elements of the Cuban-born fighter.
Ghana's Joseph Agbeko, a former bantamweight titlist known for his toughness and exciting style, chose to play chess with the master in lieu of pushing the pace at Atlantic City's Adrian Phillips Ballroom at Boardwalk Hall. Instead, all Agbeko accomplished was driving fans out of their seats and straight to the exits in droves.
What ultimately proved to be a bad style matchup for Rigondeaux in terms of improving his marketability in the end clouded what was a brilliant, one-sided performance for "The Jackal," who landed hard counter left hands at will throughout and was never in danger.
Key moment: In a fight lacking a turning point or defining moment, it was Rigondeaux's love for the left uppercut in the opening round that got Agbeko's attention and was partly responsible for sending him into a defensive cocoon.
We've got your number: 48. That was the total number of punches landed over 12 full rounds for Agbeko. Yes, that's four per round. No misprint. As Rigondeaux's trainer, Pedro Diaz, said after the fight: "It was an easy fight because Agbeko didn't come to fight."
Last word: Rigondeaux showcased his almost incomparable mastery of the "hit and don't be hit" philosophy that is the core of boxing. However, he clearly took his foot off the gas over the final third of the fight. Rigondeaux will need the right dance partner should he desire to continue headlining cards on American cable, but there are few in the world, if any, who can do what he does on this level.