Rigondeaux Returns at 126: A New Beginning or Prolonged End?

Guillermo Rigondeaux Returns January 13 at Featherweight

Guillermo Rigondeaux
Guillermo Rigondeaux

Guillermo Rigondeaux returns at featherweight on the under-card of Uzcategui vs Plant

Former unified super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux is finally returning to the ring. Upon return, the 38 year-old Cuban defector will move up in weight to fight against Giovanni Delgado (16-8, 9KOs).

Rigondeaux (17-1, 11KOs) is a two-time Olympic gold medalist who’s career has had plenty of ups and downs. In the early part, Rigo had no problem staying busy. He fought at least three times a year while climbing through the ranks, collecting titles, and defeating some of the top names in the division.

This would eventually lead to a unification showdown with 2012 Fighter of the Year and WBA champion, Nonito Donaire. The Cuban fighter would win the contest decisively, and what should have followed were more high profile fights.

However, this wasn’t the case. Instead, the second half of his career was marked with being avoided, inactivity, and promotional issues.

Many boxing pundits, along with fans, were not over enthusiastic about the Cuban amateurish fighting style. This would later serve as a crucial tipping point in his career as several top fighters were able to avoid him with little to no backlash.

The Tipping Point

Rigondeaux would then set his target on arguably the sport’s top Pound For Pound fighter; current unified lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko. These two Olympians are no stranger to each other.

For years, there were several debates about who would win if they fought. There were times when we thought it would finally happen, as reports of talks surfaced from time to time.

The Cuban fighter, for months, would harass the WBA champion over social media. In December 2017, it finally happened. For the first time in boxing history, two former Olympic gold medalist would compete as professionals.

Unfortunately, Rigondeaux would quit in the corner before the start of the seventh round, claiming pain in his left hand. Not only was this a surprise, the backlash was intense.

He eventually would disappear for the entire year of 2018, leaving many to speculate his career had come to an end. That is until news surfaced in October that Rigo had signed with PBC adviser Al Haymon.

This brought about even more questions.

The Current Landscape

Exactly what is left that can be salvaged of the once technically sound fighter in Rigondeaux? That will finally be answered now that confirmation of his return has been announced.

Now, with the move up in weight, fighting in the featherweight division could also lead to fights with some of the champions who are signed with PBC. Its going to be very interesting to see how much was taken out of the former champion from the Lomachenko defeat.

Can he reclaim any glory of his past career or will the plague of inactivity continue to be an issue? Has the flame been reduced to smoke? These are questions that must be answered.

The fight is set to take place on the undercard of Jose Uzcategui vs Caleb Plant at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on January 13.

By: Garrisson Bland

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Garrisson Bland - Head of Public Relations/Senior Journalist. Garrisson is the Head of Public relations for 3kingsboxing.com as well as a senior writer. He is also the host of YouTube boxing show "Truth And Facts Sports Talk."