Guillermo Rigondeaux made his long anticipated pro debut Friday night in Florida. This guy is an all time great amateur. He won two Olympic gold medals for Cuba (2000, 2004), and two world amateur championships (2001, 2005). There was a lot of excitement when it was announced that he would finally turn pro. He is now living in Miami, and is training out of the same camp as Yuriorkis Gamboa and Erislandi Lara.
You really don’t learn a whole lot about Guillermo from this fight. His opponent Juan Noriega (3-3) was visibly intimidated by him, and constantly fought on the back foot. Rigondeaux didn’t seem all that comfortable chasing. I think he’s the type of guy who prefers to counter punch. It look as though he was a little bit out of his element having to force the fight. He doesn’t seem to throw the jab with any authority. He tends to just use his lead hand to measure his opponent, and then looks for openings to throw power shots with his left. This could be because he knew his opponent was outclassed and was just looking for a quick finish, but it’s something to watch for.
You can see why he was such an accomplished amateur. He is certainly very skilled. He moves well, his reflexes are excellent and his hand speed is absolutely devastating. It’s just a matter of how it will all translate in the pros. We need to see him in some more meaningful contests to get an idea of that.
Rigondeaux is 28 now. That’s getting on a bit for a super bantamweight. I don’t see that necessarily being a problem, but they are going to need to move him along pretty quickly. I would like to see him stay very busy while he racks up a few more wins against lower level opponents. He will need that ring time to adapt his style to the pro game. But after that, he will want to step up quite fast, if he is to become champion in a very tough division.