Guillermo Rigondeaux was truly back in “Rigo Form” tonight, and it led to a split decision loss to John Riel Casimero in the Showtime main event from Carson, California.
Casimero (31-4, 21 KO) retained his WBO bantamweight title on scores of 116-112 and 117-111 going his way, taking a split decision over Rigondeaux (20-2, 13 KO), who got one card of 115-113 in his favor. Bad Left Hook scored the fight 114-114, and Bad Left Hook do not care who won, really, but it’s probably better, in Bad Left Hook’s opinion, that Casimero got the nod so that he can go on to fight someone else in a title bout.
The fight did make history:
Guilermo Rigondeaux and John Riel Casimero break the @CompuBox record for fewest combined punches landed in a 12-round fight with 91.— Dan Canobbio (@DanCanobbio) August 15, 2021
Previous record was 100 combined landed punches in Mario Barrios vs. Devis Boschiero (7/9/16)
In short, without going into it because there’s not much to go into, there was zero sustained action over 12 rounds, with Rigondeaux, 40, scampering about the ring, sometimes skillfully, sometimes just flat-out avoiding contact.
“I wanted a knockout and all my fans wanted a knockout, but Rigondeaux is always running,” Casimero said. “He’s always running! No fighting!”
Casimero said he’s got a plan, noting that now that he’s done with Rigondeaux, he wants Nonito Donaire next and then Naoya Inoue.
Rigo, of course, believed he deserved the win, and when told he only landed 44 punches in the fight, the Cuban replied via an interpreter, “That’s the necessary amount of punches I needed to win this fight.”
It was a good response.
Gary Antonio Russell ND-1 Emmanuel Rodriguez
This only lasted 16 seconds before their heads clashed very hard, sending Rodriguez bloody down to the canvas. It just happened. It was just a thing that happens, and it absolutely sucks for two fighters who trained hard, came to win, it was a pivotal fight for both — you hate to see it.
Both were obviously frustrated and emotional after it was all over, but also said they’d like to reschedule and face each other properly next time out. It was a good matchup on paper, still would be. Hope they get a do-over.
Rau’shee Warren TKO-2 Damien Vazquez
Warren, 34, has never been known as a puncher, but boy did he bring the heat here. The three-time Olympian and former world titleholder just took poor Vazquez (15-3-1, 8 KO) apart, and it was the difference between a superbly-schooled veteran who still has something and a younger guy who has tried to learn on the job as a pro and just could not deal with the angles, with the speed, and with the counter punching.
Warren (19-3, 5 KO) noted pre-fight that he intended to show more power, but I mean, lots of non-punchers say that ahead of fights. We saw it here, though. “Nuke” dropped Vazquez twice on counter right hooks in the first round, then finished things off at 2:18 of round two with a rocket left hand down the pipe, crushing Vazquez, 24, right on the jaw. Referee Ray Corona was given no choice, Vazquez’s legs were gone and it was a clear mismatch.
“I was trying to show them something different. I’ve always had the power, but this training camp we worked on something different, sat down on the punches, and it worked in the ring,” Warren said. “I always knew I had that power and that speed. It’s all about taking your time and letting it come, and when I saw the opportunity, I went for it.”
Warren said he would like another title shot next, and had his eyes on the main event. For Vazquez, he was trying to come down in weight to see if that would help after a pair of pretty one-sided — however game — losses at 122 to Juan Carlos Payano and Brandon Figueroa. It did not help.