On Saturday, August 14, 2021, it was Cuba vs. the Phillipines as former Super Bantamweight champion Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux returned to the ring losing a split decision to Bantamweight champion, John Riel Casimero.
Rigo vs. Casimero battled in the main event of a Showtime Championship boxing card live from The Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The bout was originally planned as a unification between Casimero and WBC champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire but when the fight with Donaire fell apart Rigondeaux stepped in as a replacement.
The matchup between the puncher Casimero and the slick technician Rigondeaux did not spark immediate fireworks as both fighters proved befuddled by each others style.
Casimero began the bout behind a winging punch that hit nothing but air, while Rigondeaux attempted to establish his jab and distance along the perimeter of the ring making it clear he would not engage carelessly.
Midway through the first, Rigondeaux began to find Casimero with glancing counter lefts as Casimero lunged in to land his right hand and dropped Rigondeaux.
The referee ruled it a slip and no knockdown as Casimero continued to land punches while Rigondeaux was down. Once the action resumed, Casimero landed his first solid right flush on Rigondeaux at the end of the round.
As the second got underway, Rigondeaux continued to show no real offense and was content to move laterally and feint the jab, while Casimero made good on his promise to make the fight and apply pressure. The champion began to try chopping down the body of the Jackal, who began landing his left hand as Casimero lunged in and the crowd began to boo the lack of action.
The third saw more of the same as neither fighter managed to land much , in the case of Casimero he could not find Rigondeaux while El Jackal simply wouldn’t let his hands go and engage. As the boos began again both fighter landed straight shots at the other to close the round.
The middle rounds continued in the same pattern with Casimero chasing and landing single heavy shots but never being able to unload more punches and follow up, while Rigondeaux began to land the hook off the jab when up close.
Rigondeaux remained content in making Casimero miss and despite his best effort to make it rough on the inside Rigondeaux proved too seasoned and avoided any danger. Casimero grew tired of his movement and stood in the ring center at the end of the seventh inviting Rigondeaux to fight.
As the bout came into the championship rounds the crowd continued its chorus of boos and the chase continued as Casimero did his best to land a big punch and cut the ring succeeding in connecting with big overhands and lunging rights.
But they were not enough to stop Rigondeaux ‘s movement.
For what it was worth, Rigondeaux continued to make an argument for effective punches as his counter left hands and uppercuts still remained clear and flush in the middle of Casimero’s combinations.
As the bell rang for the twelfth and final round the crowd got on its feet not to applaud what they had seen but in celebration of its end, Casimero came out still hoping for the big one and inviting Rigondeaux to engage.
Rigondeaux saw no need to oblige and landed solid counter lefts in the first half of the round and proceeded to tie Casimero up in the last half.
As the fight came to a close the boos from the stadium came from all sides as the judges came to a spit decision victory for Casimero by scores of 116-112, 117-111, with one judge having it 115-113 for Rigondeaux.
In the post-fight interview, Casimero and his team condemned Rigondeaux and his performance.
“I wanted a knockout and all my fans wanted a knockout, but Rigondeaux is always running,” said Casiermo. “He’s always running! No fighting.”
Rigondeaux on the other hand was confident that his style won the fight.
“Nobody wants to fight with me because I frustrate them in the ring,” said Rigondeaux. “I landed the punches that I needed to in order to win the fight tonight. This is how I win.”
Casimero also laid out his plans for the immediate future with this fight out of the way, calling out Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire.