Casimero vows to KO Rigondaeux: ‘I will stop him in 3 rounds’
LOS ANGELES — Oddly enough, John Riel Casimero and Cuban opponent Guillermo Rigondeaux share a similar fate: Almost nobody wants anything to do with them. But for different reasons.
The flashy, loud-talking Casimero saw big fights — including the likes of Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire — slip through because he felt they are intimidated by his fearsome power and hunger for stardom.
Prospective opponents steer clear of Rigondeaux because of his skillful, tactical fighting style many thought as unexciting and thus doesn’t sell fights.
The two-time Olympic champ helped hasten then fall of Donaire one year after becoming consensus Fighter of the Year in 2012.
In Thursday’s final presser for their fight, they somehow managed to create spark.
“This should be secret,” said Casimero in halting English. “But I will stop him in three rounds.”
Rigondeaux countered by calling Casimero — dressed in Versace in jacket and 70s style sunglasses — a “payaso” which means clown.
“I’m not much of a talker, but he will see the demon on Saturday,” said Rigondeaux in Spanish.
That touched a nerve on Casimero: “If he will not run, he will be my seventh victim in a row.”
Casimero is on a roll with six consecutive knockout wins.
But Rigondeaux also has his own collection to keep. He was cunning enough to impose his game style in beating two Filipinos, Drian Francisco and four-division Donaire.
In the usual photo op, the 40-year-old Rigondeaux made a slash-throat gesture at Casimero who returned the favor right away.
Then after walking down the stage, Casimero told Filipino sportswriters asked him if he’s up for a drink on Saturday. He replied: “Matic na yan (sure thing).”
On a rare time that Casimero didn’t struggle with weight, the Filipino appeared in top shape, just two pounds over the 118lbs ceiling, a day before the official weigh-in.
“It’s nothing we should worry about,” said his chief trainer Nonoy Neri.
They cross paths on Saturday (Sunday morning in Manila) for Casimero’s WBO bantamweight title at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.