Nonito Donaire is a household name in the boxing world. His challenger, Guillermo Rigondeaux, is attempting to make that leap by defeating the WBO super bantamweight champion on Saturday night at Radio City Music Hall.
A loss Saturday night wouldn’t maul the nearly flawless career of The Filipino Flash as much as it would elevate Rigondeaux to superstardom.
While you may not know everything there is to know about the challenger, there is plenty for the 2012 fighter of the year to be worried about in this understated title bout.
The 32-year-old Cuban, known as The Jackal, is the WBA super bantamweight champion and boasts an 11-0 professional record, including eight KOs (h/t BoxRec). He also won two Gold medals at the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics. He claims an amateur boxing record of nearly 400 fights with just 12 losses, according to HBO.com.
Legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach labeled Rigondeaux as “the greatest talent he has ever seen” (h/t HBO.com).
Does The Filipino Flash have anything to worry about? We’ll take a look at some things he must accomplish in order to continue to build on his strong 2012 performance and avoid being unseated by his accomplished veteran opponent.
Come with Power
Donaire’s striking power is well-known throughout the super bantamweight division. That power-punch ability has led to him sitting down 20 of his 32 opponents by way of knockout.
He’s going to need to pick and choose his spots but find openings to land those punches. It will keep his southpaw opponent reeling
Speed Wins the Race
To get the better of his Olympic champion opponent, The Filipino Flash is going to have to live up to his moniker. The Jackal is a tough technician who can evade and defend against the quickest strikers the sport has thrown his way.
Donaire must use effective and timely combinations to penetrate Rigondeaux’s tough defense and land his powerful punches. Speed and power are what have gotten him to this point, and he must bring the fire in both areas to continue his dominant run.
Don’t Get Too Aggressive
As strong and quick as Donaire is, Rigondeaux is nearly his equal. Getting into poor position in order to land his own flurries could gradually open up windows for his challenger to exploit. If anyone can find a weakness in Donaire’s defense in those moments, it’s The Jackal.
Rigondeaux is capable of making his opponent pay for miscalculations. That’s a fact that Donaire can’t ignore when looking for entry points in his Cuban opponent’s defenses.