By: Hans Themistode
For most of Guillermo Rigondeaux’s career, he’s sat back and listened as his competition has lobbied disparaging words in his direction. Yet, no matter how many times someone has threatened to hand him a vicious beating, the Cuban native has simply dissected his rivals once he stepped foot inside the ring.
As the former two-time Olympic gold medalist prepares to make his latest appearance to the squared circle, this Saturday night against John Riel Casimero, he simply smiles as the WBO bantamweight belt holder has threatened him repeatedly. With the Filipino native confident that he’ll get rid of his man in no more than three rounds, Rigondeaux quietly rolls his eyes.
“I’m tired of hearing all these guys trash talk,” said Rigondeaux during an interview with Fight Hype TV. “They’re all clowns from the circus and he’ll see on Saturday what’s going to happen.”
While Rigondeaux (20-1, 13 KOs) continues to focus his attention on Casimero and his 118-pound crown, he can’t help but take a look at his former division.
From the moment Rigondeaux turned pro in 2009 up until 2017, he competed one weight class higher at the super bantamweight division. Having won the WBA and WBO world titles, as well as the lineal super bantamweight crown, Rigondeaux still views himself as still the man to beat.
In an effort to advance his career, Rigondeaux opted to move up two weight divisions in December of 2017 to take on Vasyl Lomachenko. Although he boxed well early on, the size and strength of Lomachenko were ultimately too much.
While Rigondeaux could have opted to move back down to 122 pounds, he decided to try his hand at 118. So far, the 40-year-old has successfully made the transition. In February of 2020, Rigondeaux captured the vacant WBA “Regular” title via split decision against Liborio Solis.
Since Rigondeaux has moved on, several young fighters have gone on to win world titles in his former weight class. Currently, the belt holders at 122 pounds are Stephen Fulton, who holds the WBO, Brandon Figueroa who has the WBC, and Murodjon Akhmadaliev who has both the IBF and WBA titles.
Regardless of the trinkets that each fighter lays claim to, Rigondeaux believes that until he’s defeated at 122 pounds, he’ll always preside as the number one super bantamweight in the world.
“I’m the father of all the little chickens in that division. Everyone knows that’s my division until someone takes it from me. I’m the Lineal 122-pound champion.”