Dignity Health Sports Park; Carson, California
The battle for the WBO Bantamweight Title should have been more than what it wound up being. But sometimes boxers for whatever reason in the heat of battle don’t change what they are. And because of that, a frustrated Casimero retains title in a split decision, not the knockout he was hoping for.
John Riel Casimero had begged all week for Guillermo Rigondeaux to stand and trade with him. But the matador will never be the bull. Casimero spent 12 rounds chasing after the two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, to the tune of a crowd that grew restless after four rounds. For whatever reason, the 32-year-old Filipino didn’t cut the ring off; which would have slowed down “The Jackal”.
The action in the fight was sporadic at best. And could have turned if one of the two let their hands truly fly. Casimero was biting on the feints from Rigondeaux, but he didn’t do anything with that. When Casimero was able to get Rigondeaux near the ropes, he’d throw mostly ones, not any 1-2 or 1-2-3. The only real flurry Casimero had was at the end of the opening round, where he got a warning for cheap shots:
Frustrated Casimero Retains Title: By the Numbers
The level of paltriness when it comes to the numbers were Rigondeaux landing just 44 punches of 221, and Casimero landing 47 of 297. Which does put this fight into the record books. As the least amount of punches combined in a 12-round fight. That in part led to the scorecards of 115-113 for Rigondeaux, and 116-112 and 117-111 for Casimero. Most of the time when the cards are all over the place, you can argue against it. For the most part, you can’t do that here.
It was 36 minutes of bull versus the matador. And there’s always that chance when you have a full pressure fighter going against a total stick and move counter-striker. Immediately after the fight, Jim Gray had some interesting interactions thanks to words from interpreters. Although Rigondeaux wasn’t about to apologize for the way he fought saying:
“That’s the necessary amount of punches I needed to win this fight.”
Casimero when questioned said:
“I wanted a knockout and all my fans wanted a knockout, but Rigondeaux is always running. He’s always running! No fighting!”
Frustrated Casimero Retains Title: Can He Unify?
Very colorfully Casimero held up three fingers. His ring finger was Rigondeaux, which he put down. Then he said his pointer finger is Nonito Donaire, leaving his middle finger for the king of the 118-pounders; Naoya Inoue. Does what happened in this fight help him in his quest to unify? No. Inoue has even faster hands but doesn’t take a backwards step. Donaire lands a lot more than Rigondeaux. The safe bet is if someone does collect all the belts there, it’ll be “The Monster” from Japan.