Guillermo Rigondeaux, right, in action this past Saturday night against Joseph Agbeko (Photo: Chris Farina – Top Rank)
By Chris Robinson
On Saturday night, Dec. 7, Cuba’s Guillermo Rigondeaux again put on another clinic in outclassing former bantamweight titlist Joseph Agbeko inside of the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Rigondeaux, the sport’s reigning WBA and WBO junior featherweight champion, had his Ghanaian foe completely befuddled on his way to the shutout victory.
And while pure boxing enthusiasts will always be able to appreciate the kind of displays that Rigondeaux is able to produce, former HBO analyst Larry Merchant, who was ringside calling the bout for Top Rank’s international feed, seemed less then enthused.
“It was another exhibition of what I think of as amateur boxing excellence,” Merchant opened up.
“Impressed?” Merchant responded moments later when asked to elaborate. “I think I went to sleep in the middle of the second round.”
Merchant then compared Rigondeaux and his countrymen to the bevy of Russian pugs who have been making noise as of late on the big state.
“Who wants to see him?” Merchant continued. “Unless you’re a purist and an amateur boxing fan. It’s interesting that the Russians who we see, who are also excellent amateur fighters from very strong national programs; they are adapting to professional prizefighting and making a serious impact worldwide.
“The Cubans have the amateur system and style so deeply engrained in them that they can’t seem to modify it much less change it,” Merchant added. “They’re first, second, and third priorities are not to get hit. Good for them, they’re not going to get hurt. They can fight any way they want. It’s a free country and I don’t have to watch them if I don’t want to.”
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Chris Robinson can be reached at Trimond@aol.com