Guillermo Rigondeaux biggest test for ‘Quadro Alas’ Casimero

FILIPINO WBO bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero is seen to be tested hard by Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux in their title fight in California this weekend. — ALVIN S. GO

By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter

FILIPINO World Boxing Organization bantamweight champion John Riel “Quadro Alas” Casimero is to defend his title against Cuba’s Guillermo Rigondeaux this weekend in what could well be his biggest test as a fighter to date, said one local boxing analyst.

Ormoc City native Mr. Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) is to battle Mr. Rigondeaux (20-1, 13 KOs) in a scheduled 12-rounder at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, on Sunday, Aug. 15 (Manila time).

It will be the first fight of 31-year-old Mr. Casimero since successfully defending his title against Duke Micah of Ghana in September last year where he won by technical knockout in the third round.

The Rigondeaux fight is the third title defense of Mr. Casimero after he won the WBO title in November 2019.

For boxing analyst Nissi Icasiano, this latest title defense of Mr. Casimero will be a tough one considering the top-quality challenge the 40-year-old Mr. Rigondeaux will be presenting.

“Stylistically, it’s a nightmare for Casimero on paper. It’s going to be an uphill battle for the Filipino, and there is no need to exaggerate it because he is facing a boxer who has been bred differently,” said Mr. Icasiano in an online interview with BusinessWorld.

While Mr. Casimero has logged more action in the ring than the Cuban and the latter has been exposed as a fighter in recent outings, there is still no denying how fluidly and effectively Mr. Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, has translated his skill set from the amateur ranks, the analyst said.

“Rigondeaux is the more proven fighter, and his evasiveness and boxing savvy will likely be the difference here,” Mr. Icasiano further shared.

But the analyst is not outright counting out Mr. Casimero as he is still the champion and has some things going for him as well.

The Filipino bet, however, has to come out with all he has to successfully fend off Mr. Rigondeaux.

“The talent is there and Casimero has done enough to deserve the chance to share the ring with Rigondeaux. But the truth is we haven’t seen Casimero against an elite competition. You would argue that Zolane Tete or Amnat Ruenroeng are his best competition. This will easily be the biggest test for Casimero,” Mr. Icasiano said.

Adding, “Casimero has never seen anywhere close to the talent of Rigondeaux or somebody who will mesmerize him with the same boxing brilliance like what he’ll face. He has to dig deep into his arsenal to offset Rigondeaux.”

The analyst said Mr. Casimero should take cue from Mr. Rigondeaux’s last fight against Venezuelan Solis in 2020 where the Cuban got hurt early in the contest and just tried to survive for the majority of the time the rest of the way to win by split decision.

“Casimero should look into that (Solis fight) because he has the punch that packs more power between the both of them. He has to be very active as well by pushing the pace and bringing the fight to Rigo,” Mr. Icasiano said.

Predicting the outcome of the fight is not easy, said Mr. Icasiano, just as he noted that “the first four [rounds] of the fight will be crucial.”

But if he is to call it, he said, “Probably, a decision in favor of Rigondeaux. Maybe eight rounds to four.”

The Casimero-Rigondeaux fight is organized by Premier Boxing Champions.

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