Guillermo Rigondeaux and John Riel Casimero are officially set for Aug. 14 on Showtime, a date that has had its ups and downs.
Rigondeaux-Casimero was the original fight announced by Showtime a few months ago, but then Rigondeaux agreed to step aside and allow WBC bantamweight titleholder Nonito Donaire to face WBO titleholder Casimero in a big unification fight. Shortly after, with disputes between the Donaire and Casimero camps that grew increasingly personal, Donaire withdrew, and Rigondeaux stepped back in.
Casimero made sure to take a mild shot at Donaire at today’s virtual press conference.
“Nonito Donaire didn’t want to fight me but that’s okay. Donaire is easy for me,” he said. “Now, I have Rigondeaux and I know he’s very experienced. He’s a two-division world champion and a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist. This will be a great fight.
“Rigondeaux has a much different style from Donaire. I’m actually much more excited to fight Rigondeaux because Donaire is scared of me. I don’t think Rigondeaux is scared. If he’s not scared, he better fight me and not run.”
But while Casimero (30-4, 21 KO) respects Rigondeaux’s ability, he also is fully aware of his reputation, and hopes he can force an action fight.
“I want this to be a fight. The fans want this to be a fight,” the Filipino champion said. “I hope Rigondeaux doesn’t run. If he does, this will be a boring fight. His old fights are no good. All he does is run, run, run. I want the Rigondeaux that doesn’t run, the one that boxes and fights.”
Rigondeaux (20-1, 13 KO) does hold the WBA’s secondary (largely unrecognized) bantamweight title, which will be on the line. (Naoya Inoue holds the WBA bantamweight title everyone recognizes.) The 40-year-old Cuban southpaw shrugs off Casimero’s talk, and any worries about him being a big puncher.
“I’m not worried about Casimero’s power or anything he brings. I’ve fought in three divisions and I’ve gone after the biggest challenges every time. I’m just not worried about what Casimero will do in the ring,” he said. “It’s simple to me. Casimero is going to do his job and I’m going to do mine. We’ll both bring our ‘A-games’ and see who comes out on top.
“I’m not a big trash-talker. It’s not about what he’s going to say beforehand. I’ll see him in the ring and he’ll get the real Rigondeaux just like he wants. Until then, I’m just focusing on my job.He says he’s going to retire me, so it’s on now. We’ll see if he’s able to back up that talk.”
The southpaw also believes Casimero’s power is getting too much talk, saying, “He’s going to feel my power. Everyone is talking about his power and I feel like my power is being underestimated. I can’t wait to get in the ring and show everyone what I’m capable of.”
Casimero also says that the opponent flip-flopping — and preparing for two very different styles — hasn’t been an issue for him.
“The change in opponent doesn’t bother me at all,” he said. “It went back-and-forth between Rigondeaux and Donaire. I don’t care who they put in the ring in front of me. I’m ready and prepared for Rigondeaux.”