Analyst laments how Casimero’s WBO bantamweight title fight did not live up to expectations

LIKE most who got to witness the World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight title fight between Filipino champion John Riel Casimero and Cuban challenger Guillermo Rigondeaux on Sunday, one local fight analyst was left disappointed for how the showdown did not live up to expectations.

“I expected it to be really competitive,” lamented analyst Nissi Icasiano following the 12-round encounter in California, which ended in a split-decision victory for Mr. Casimero but featured very little action as hoped.

The outcome left many wanting after Mr. Rigondeaux seemingly decided to circle around the ring for most of the time.

Mr. Casimero, 31, tried to bring the fight to his opponent but with not much success as he kept chasing his opponent.

The fight statistics showed how little action the headlining fight had, with both fighters not even landing 50 punches throughout the contest.

Mr. Rigondeaux connected on 44 punches out of 221 throws (19.9%) while Mr. Casimero had 47-of-297 (15.8%).

Two judges scored the fight for the Ormoc City native Mr. Casimero, 116-112 and 117-111, and one went for 40-year-old Mr. Rigondeaux, 115-113.

Mr. Icasiano said definitely people did not get their money’s worth on said fight but mentioned that perhaps it was bound to happen considering the different fighting styles of the boxers.

“[I think] that’s what you get when you have two boxers with contrasting styles. If you’re well acquainted with Guillermo Rigondeaux, that shouldn’t surprise you. That’s his usual approach. He made Casimero chase him, and he also made Casimero miss on many occasions during the fight,” he said.

But the analyst asserted that despite the contrasting styles, the protagonists could have performed far better than what they put up last weekend.

“Rigondeaux demonstrated his tremendous footwork over the course of 12 rounds, the problem though was he didn’t put it into good use. The Cuban was hesitating to pull the trigger. With the opening and angles that his footwork created for him, Rigondeaux opted not to score punches. I can’t wrap my mind around that. He knows that he is the more refined boxer with pinpoint accuracy, but the Cuban became gun-shy,” Mr. Icasiano said.

“On the part of Casimero, my only gripe was that he didn’t throw more jabs even if his corner was urging him to do so. The jabs could have helped him in his chase for Rigondeaux around the ring. It could have assisted him in limiting the Cuban to go with his aggression. It’s just one of the missed opportunities on his part,” he added.

The analyst went on to say it was interesting how the judges came up with their verdicts in light of how the proceedings unfolded.

“It’s a tough fight to score, especially for the three judges at ringside. I think the other two gave more weight to the aggression of Casimero, considering that Rigondeaux didn’t score that many punches,” Mr. Icasiano said.

In the aftermath, the analyst said Mr. Casimero should be fine as the champion and still poised for big fights against compatriot and now-rival Nonito Donaire, Jr. or undefeated World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Federation champion Naoya Inoue of Japan moving forward.

He is, however, not sure about Mr. Rigondeaux, who received the biggest flak for how his last fight went south.

“Rigondeaux’s future is up in the air after this fight. He turns 41 in September. He moved down to 118 to get bigger fights, but in a fight like this one, he failed to show up. Now that the WBA stripped him of the regular version of the bantamweight championship, it’s basically back to square one.” — Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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