Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank
Within the sport of boxing, spectators cannot help but be infatuated by a slugger who will take three punches to land one of his own.
Fighters such as Arturo Gatti and Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. both developed gigantic fan bases due to their come forward, pressure style, while the disciples of the sweet science struggle to attract positive attention.
This is certainly the case for super bantamweight kingpin Guillermo Rigondeaux, who takes on Sod Kokietgym in Macao, China this Saturday night.
For a fighter of sublime skill, Rigondeaux should be held in high esteem by the boxing faithful. Yet, he has been cynically slated by the sport’s media for his defensive style. Regardless of his success in the super bantamweight division and his magnificent amateur career, the Cuban defector has found attaining stiff competition almost impossible due to his superior skill and lack of supporters, meaning he is simply too much of a risk for little reward.
Perhaps this is the reason why Rigondeaux is facing the relatively unknown Kokietgym on a card that’s sole purpose is to promote Chinese Olympic superstar Zou Shiming.
There is no doubt that Kokietgym does not belong in the same ring with a fighter of Rigondeaux’s caliber. The 37 year old has only fought outside of his native Thailand twice, losing both bouts to Mexican tough guy Daniel Ponce De Leon on points and a one-round blitz in the return.
Apart from his two defeats to Ponce De Leon, Kokietgym has only fought mediocre opposition and even though he will be under no pressure on Saturday night, it is extremely unlikely that Kokietgym has the ability to cause an almighty upset in Macao.
Therefore, after Saturday night’s expected win, it will be interesting to see if Rigondeaux will continue to dominate at super bantamweight or chase a lucrative fight with the likes of Vasyl Lomachenko at featherweight, hoping that a win against the Ukrainian will reignite a career that has somewhat stalled.
That being said, many were confident that Rigondeaux’s career defining bout with Nonito Donaire would have catapulted him to the summit of the pound-for-pound lists, however that fight seemed to have pushed the 33-year-old Cuban deeper into the boxing abyss.
Unfortunately, a poor performance against the likes of Kokietgym will not increase Rigondeaux’s stock, but further drive “El Chacal” deeper into the depths.