“I don’t think anyone thought he had it in him to move this much. [...] It’s staggering that he’s been able to move this much.” - Al Bernstein
No painting achieves greatness solely through the number of brushstrokes applied in its creation. But, part of what made Rembrandt and his fellow Dutch Masters worthy of their title was the depth, layering, and sheer effort of exertion necessary through their chosen media to create the brilliant works of art that defined them.
Last night, the boxing world witnessed a 40-year-old artist create a masterpiece in real time. His name is Guillermo Rigondeaux. His paintbrushes were his feet. And his canvas was… Well, the canvas material comprising the floor of the boxing ring, I suppose.
CompuBox tells us that Rigo and John Riel Casimero combined to land 91 punches, an all-time low in a 12 round fight.
But… Counting punches is the simplest, cheapest attempt at quantifying a fight. Any common hoodlum can throw punches. What makes a truly great boxer is FOOTWORK. And the only appropriate way to measure footwork is by counting steps.
“One thing’s for sure- Rigondeaux is well on his way to getting his 10,000 steps in from this championship match.” - Mauro Ranallo
So, how many steps did Guillermo Rigondeaux actually take in his 12 round escape act?
According to thorough analysis by our proprietary CompuWalk technology, Bad Left Hook clocked Rigo as having taken 5,818 steps between the opening and closing bells. That’s an average of just under 485 per round.
What do those numbers mean in terms of distance?
The manufacturers of a very popular fitness tracker estimate the average walking stride of a 5’5” tall man at 27 inches. Obviously, Rigo was not just casually strolling along in the ring. Some of his steps were long, loping strides, and others were little stutter steps. For ease of analysis, we’ll just use the 27 inch walking average as an estimate for each counted step. After all, applying science to art is, by necessity, an imprecise effort. Even the most meticulous of the Pointillists didn’t make all their dots exactly the same size.
Over the course of 12 rounds, Rigo traveled 2.48 miles, or just under 4 kilometers.
On average, if Rigo had taken his steps around the outside of the ropes instead of between them? He would have done more than 15 laps per round on a standard 18’ ring.
Rigo’s busiest round was the 8th, with 582 steps. His laziest? The 11th, at just 367 steps. But, that was just the maestro slowing the pace before a 12th round grand finale of nearly 540 steps.
John Riel Casimero started retching and dry heaving in his corner after suffering just two rounds of perambulatory punishment at the feet of Rigondeaux. But, the inimitable Rigo was just getting started. In the 10 rounds still to come, Rigondeaux would walk, jog, hop, shuffle, and run more than two additional miles.
“BOO! BOOOOOOO!” - Anonymous, as heard among the Carson, CA audience
If you’re the sort of casual fan that needs your stats defined in terms of punches? Rigo took over 132 steps per landed punch. That’s just under 91 meters of movement between each touch. Can you imagine Usain Bolt sprinting to the end of his signature race just to throw a single jab? Even The Proclaimers, the British twin-brother rock duo that famously declared they were both willing to walk as much as 1,000 miles just to collapse at your door, never mentioned anything about having the energy to throw a punch after arrival.
On the night of August 14th, Vergil Ortiz Jr. scored 5 knockdowns. Joshua Franco and Andrew Moloney threw over 1500 combined punches. And, perhaps those two fights provided some cheap, animalistic thrills for the Neanderthals and Philistines of the sports world.
But, the wisest and truest fans know who gave us the greatest demonstration of top-level boxing last night. It was Guillermo Rigondeaux. He created a masterpiece, and he took all of us along on a journey with him.
A two and a half mile journey.