(Photo: Tom Casino, Showtime)
Early on in the Guillermo Rigondeaux-Rico Ramos non-fight on Showtime Saturday, the crowd got to booing. They clearly hadn’t done their homework if they expected big-time action. Or maybe they got their expectations up after an undercard that had plenty of the stuff.
What they got instead was a main event that began hot and ended with a big body shot by Rigondeaux, and a whole lot of nothing inbetween.
Rigondeaux, the only fighter of the two junior featherweights who could be bothered with even a moment of aggression, came out fast and scored a knockdown that was a semi-push on the back end of a flurry, but whether it was a true knockdown or not is academic: Ramos was hurt, and he wobbled his way out of the 1st round.
After that, the already-tentative Ramos was even more tentative, and Rigondeaux spent the next four rounds himself waiting, waiting, waiting. For what? For Ramos to throw punches so he could revert to his natural counterpunching style? Wasn’t going to happen. Ramos managed to land only 15 punches over six rounds.
The 6th round saw this anemic contest come to a close, set up by an odd sequence. Rigondeaux was holding down Ramos’ head when he caught him on the top of the forehead with a shot, and Ramos reacted poorly to it, wandering away from the action until the referee instructed him to continue. It wasn’t clear if it affected his equillibrium or if the foul bothered him or if he was looking for a way out. Later, he’d say he was dizzy from being hit on the back of the head, but it couldn’t have been that, because that’s not true.
Rigondeaux went after the discombobulated Ramos at that point, finally scoring a left hook to the body that put Ramos down for the count. Ramos didn’t have that pained look on his face so many have when a body shot finishes them off, which means either that he saw this as a chance to end his frustrating night by taking the 10 count or he’s the stoic type. But the shot looked legitimately hard to me, too, so maybe “stoic” is the right answer.
Ramos ought to be done with appearing on television after this. He’s got some talent and has had his shining moments, but more often than not he’s exceedingly dull, never more so than this weekend.
Rigondeaux can, perhaps, be salvaged. He’s probably never going to be a hungry, salivating predator, but with the right opponent he can feed off their aggression and at least flashes moments of predatory behavior on his own accord. He’s also, clearly, very good, to beat a highly-ranked junior feather in just his ninth pro fight and after amassing a record as one of the best amateurs ever. But as an audition for a fight with Nonito Donaire — the man he called out afterward — this wasn’t enough to get him the part.