LAS VEGAS — Top Rank CEO Bob Arum had said that he was looking for a sensational performance out of WBA junior featherweight beltholder and two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux, who, until recently, had displayed a somewhat boring amateur style.
The 31-year-old Rigondeaux delivered on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley title fight, flooring challenger Teon Kennedy (17-2-2, 7 knockouts), of Philadelphia, five times on the way to a dominating fifth-round knockout.
Rigondeaux (10-0, 8 KOs), a southpaw, scored all of his knockdowns with his left cross, dropping Kennedy once in the first, fourth and fifth rounds and twice in the second.
After watching Kennedy hit the canvas for the final time, referee Russell Mora waved an end to the fight at 1:11, even before Kennedy could reach his feet.
It was a one-sided performance even before the knockout, with Rigondeaux out-landing Kennedy 58-13 in total punches, 48-6 in power punches and 10-7 in jabs.
“All of my punches are great. I don’t have any bad ones,” said Rigondeaux. “This was probably one of my best performances.”
Arum said that Rigondeaux could one day be be in line to face Nonito Donaire (28-1, 18 KOs) — should Donaire get beyond a July 7 unification fight with Jeffrey Mathebula (26-3-2, 14KOs) — or Jorge Arce (60-6-2, 46 KOs), who is facing Jesus Rojas, (18-1-1, 13 KOs) on the Pacquiao-Bradley card.
As long as he continues his present trend, Rigondeaux could also get the winner of a fall bout between Donaire and Arce, if not ex-beltholder Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (21-2-1, 18 KOs), said Arum.
After decisioning Panama’s Ricardo Cordoba in a boring fight in November of 2010, Rigondeaux stopped his past two opponents, Willie Casey and Rico Ramos, in the first and sixth rounds, respectively.
“He has differentiated from the disaster that he had in Cowboys’ stadium against the Panamanian. Nobody wants to watch a fight like that,” said Arum, referring to Rigondeaux fight with Cordoba.
“It was very, very hard for a former Cuban amateur great to realize that it’s not just winning, but you have to look good and you have to entertain.”
Photo/Chris Farina – Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com