Anatomy of a sorry mismatchBy Recah Trinidad
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A RAGING mismatch, the fight was not, in any way, close.
Promoter Bob Arum, sour-graping like an old man a decade older than 81, must be forgiven, however, for readily shooting down the phenomenal Guillermo Rigondeaux as a boring, unsaleable warrior.
Of course, it was Arum who had initially warned that the world super bantamweight unification fight between Rigondeaux and the highly favored Nonito Donaire Jr. could slip into a tasteless, tactical war dance.
The fight was not, in any way, dull nor unexciting.
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Arum, tested but seldom trusted, reluctantly gave the fight to Rigondeaux by a measly point.
Maybe he managed to keep his score close by telling himself—and the boxing public in the postfight—that all Rigondeaux did was escape and run.
It was even harder to think if Arum himself honestly believed what he was saying.
For example: How could a guy who allegedly kept running away inflict horrible damage on the face—not to mention the heart and confidence—of his celebrated foe?
Rigondeaux never took a single step back.
The tough, gifted Cuban defector, visibly carved out of a rock, instead made a masterful display of tactical, scientific boxing seldom seen in the United States.
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As a result, he reduced Donaire, who had bragged about feeling invincible in the pre-fight, into a pale, shaky one-dimensional aspirant.
If Rigondeaux had to be aptly accused, it should not be for running or skirting the issue.
If Rigondeaux had to be charged at all, it should be for being nifty inaccessible each time the stammering, unfocused Donaire sought him out with tentative, uptight shots.
Rigondeaux, maybe without meaning to, also exposed Donaire as an overhyped paper champion.
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In fairness to Donaire, he did not readily submit postfight alibis.
But once put in a spot, he started to complain about a hitherto unheard of shoulder injury.
He also admitted to not having studied or assessed Rigondeaux’s style and prowess.
Meanwhile, Arum insisted Donaire should next fight as a full featherweight, after having had to struggle with the weighing scales for his last fight.
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That’s a very saleable proposition.
But what was quite hard to believe was the Arum insistence that Rigondeaux’s pure worth as a warrior would not sell.
Who knows, there may have never been nobody as phenomenal as Rigondeaux since the time of our own Pancho Villa, described as a soundless assassin who could materialize at the back of his foe in half a wink—after having landed a frontal punch?
Mr. Arum could disagree. But inaccessible and at times impossible as Rigondeaux had been against Donaire, this reporter would come rushing to ringside the next time the great Cuban fights.
It’s not every month, or year, that you come upon somebody with such sweet, symphonic rhythm that could reduce the proudest among them into fumbling weak-hearted pretenders to the crown.
Mr. Arum can be expected to junk what we’ve been trying to honestly point out here as pure lies.
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