Up Next: Donaire vs. Rigondeaux

By Clarence George on February 18, 2013
Up Next: Donaire vs. Rigondeaux
The Filipino Flash defeated Jorge Arce with a KO 3 in his last fight on December 15. (HBO)


Contender for Fight of the Year is less than two months away. WBO junior featherweight champ Nonito Donaire will face his WBA counterpart Guillermo Rigondeaux at Radio City Music Hall on April 13. At stake, both the WBO and WBA straps.

Radio City Music Hall, is it? An unexpected venue. I was last there in 1976, hoping (with a marked lack of success) to impress an Argentine beauty with my Porfirio Rubirosa-like charm via a viewing of Robin and Marian. I’m sure Donaire-Rigondeaux will prove to be far more eventful than my ill-fated venture there 37 years ago. Indeed, the scheduled bout is already historic, given that it will be the first match hosted by Radio City since Roy Jones Jr. beat David Telesco by unanimous decision on January 15, 2000.

Thirty-year-old Donaire (31-1-0, 20 KOs) is a 12-year pro, who fought and won four times last year. He beat Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in February by split decision and Jeffrey Mathebula in July by unanimous decision, and stopped Toshiaki Nishioka in October by ninth-round TKO and Jorge Arce in December by third-round KO.

Rigondeaux, 32 (11-0-0, 8 KOs), turned pro in 2009. He had three bouts last year, stopping Rico Ramos by sixth-round KO in January and Teon Kennedy by fifth-round TKO in June, and defeating Robert Marroquin by unanimous decision in September. The Cuban southpaw’s December match with Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym was canceled. Unfortunate that, because it had the makings of a quality bout.

Eleven fights, even though all victories, isn’t particularly impressive over a four-year period. But “The Filipino Flash” isn’t such a fool as to underestimate “El Chacal.” Rigondeaux is fast, strong, clever, a hard hitter, and his defensive technique is masterful. In addition, he’s among the best amateur boxers of all time, up there with Laszlo Papp, Teofilo Stevenson, Felix Savon, and Mark Breland. Rigondeaux brought home Olympic gold in 2000 and 2004. He won almost 400 amateur bouts, losing only 12.

Impressive, and yet… In describing his man Oddjob to James Bond, Auric Goldfinger observed that karate is to judo “what a Spandau is to a catapult.” That is precisely what professional boxing is to amateur; what Donaire is to Rigondeaux.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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  1. didosphere 07:46am, 04/10/2013

    This very technical so please read carefully. Rigo only has the left cross and his right is almost nonexistent. He has not hurt anyone with it. Donaire has a powerful left hook which he uses in different variations, overhand left when he KOd Darchinyan, shovel-hook and jab-hook. He also has his overhand right which he used to knock down Nishioka. I agree if Rigo can catch Donaire with a clean left cross or left uppercut he can hurt Donaire. It is not going to happen because Donaire uses a modified philly shell defense which for a short guy like Rigo is very difficult to penetrate with only 1 weapon, the left cross. Because while Rigo is trying to reach in to hit Donaire with the left cross, the right side of his face is wide open for Donaire’s left hook. If Rigo becomes more defensive like Nishioka with the right hand close to the right side of his face, his left cross will lack power and he will lack balance, though he has an excellent balance otherwise. either Rigo runs like he did vs. Marroquin in which case he will lose by decision or engage in which he will lose by KO. i am more worried of head clashes and Rigo’s dirty tricks of holding the opponent’s head with his right while punching with his left.

  2. raxman 04:47pm, 02/19/2013

    You don’t have an amateur career like the jackal without being able to adjust. he won’t be unaware what will happen if he is hit by the donaire hook and i have no doubt his fight plan will be based around avoiding and or countering that punch. and i don’t see this as being anything close to a boring fight. although rigondeaux is a counter puncher he is far from a boring one if his opponent is coming at him with a genuine arsenal as we know the flash has. this will be a classic match up between boxer puncher and counter puncher
    rigondeaux should be treated by fight fans with nothing but respect. in an age where the worlds best amatuers come into the pros and have 20 plus fights before fighting a live opponent (ward and GGG for example) the jackal was fighting quality opponents 8 fights into his career and is fighting arguably the best fighter in the world in his 12th. don’t be thinking he couldn’t have padded his record

  3. Koolz 03:36pm, 02/19/2013

    All Rigo has to do is just get get his head close to Donaire and he is going to get hit by one of his hooks.  He won’t be able to bounce back and go on the defense all night.  I don’t see this fight going the distance.  Donaire by KO

  4. AKT 09:20am, 02/19/2013

    I smell a rude awakening on the horizon. This bout’s outcome may be a complete surprise.

    Wait and see.

  5. Reynaldo H. Bellocillo 09:54pm, 02/18/2013

    If in the olympics Rigo played the game of boxing and won, it will be different when he face Nonito. Instead of playing boxing, Rigo will become a marathoner reducing their fight into a boring unanimous decision win for Nonito. The Cuban has nothing to offer except to run in order to survive. Once the Cuban tasted some shots it will be a chasing game all the way LOL…

  6. nameless 08:06pm, 02/18/2013

    I used to think it’s an even fight but after Marroquin showed Rigondeaux is very vulnerable to left hooks, I’d say Donaire takes him out inside 5 rounds if Rigo fights aggressively.
    But then Rigo already has a history of going defensive, if that’s the case then it will be a boring shutout win for Donaire

    What I’m thinking is if Donaire will finally get the recognition he deserves. Everyone just seem to find an excuse to somehow discredit him.

    I remember people clamoring for the Montiel showdown, he blew him out easy then Montiel is suddenly “too small” though he fought 7 times @ 118 before Donaire

  7. Sam Banog 06:51pm, 02/18/2013

    This isn’t going to last long. I give it inside 2-8 rounds to Donaire by KO.

  8. reyocs 05:30pm, 02/18/2013

    nonito is the beast of the best…..number one…
    rego gonna fall like a tree

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