The Cuban-born hitter Guillermo Rigondeaux had a rep as an amateur ace, with two Olympic golds and a 400-12 record under his belt. He proved to the world that he's pretty awesome as a pro, too, getting the better of pound-for-pound ace Nonito Donaire, the WBO super bantam champ, over 12 rounds at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday night.
This Top Rank production was no trade-fest, back-and-forth rumble; rather, WBA champ Rigo showed that he has an ultra-firm grasp of the sweet science. His "hit and not be hit" formula impressed the judges by scores of 116-111, 114-113, and 115-112, though he heard boos from the crowd in nearly every round after the second.
On TV the fight looked more lopsided than that, I think it's fair to say, as Donaire -- save for a Round 10 knockdown -- didn't get untracked. The Cuban had the edge in punches landed and thrown, 129-396 to 82-352 for the loser, according to CompuBox.
After the bout, Donaire, now 31-2, said he will go up to 126, because it is too hard to make 122. He also said he underestimated Rigo, didn't study him enough and has needed shoulder surgery to repair ligament damage for his past three fights.
Rigo's manager Gary Hyde told me a few days ago that there was no rematch clause in the contract if his man won.
Donaire offered messages to rooters on Facebook: "Thank you to all my fans who are still showing me love esp. those who came and partied with me after at Studio 21! I love you all. God is good. I lost 12 years ago and learned. I'll learn again and be stronger. Speechless from all the support." And later: "I just want to thank God for keeping me safe, my guardian angels for protecting me, my team for standing behind me, and my fans for their support. I tried to give my all and push the fight but we'll be back. I'll come back and do better. For now, I congratulate Rigondeaux."