If you didn’t know better you might have thought you were watching a different fighter in the ring against Mexican Julio Ceja Sunday night on Fox.
But it was Cuba’s former Bantamweight Champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (19-1-0, 13KO), and he was mixing up on the inside, going toe to toe with Ceja (32-4-0, 28KO) at the Fantasy Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, before ending the fight with a left hand in the eighth round. Ceja did get up from the shot but referee Russell Mora waved the bout off after gauging his eyes.
During the course of the fight Ceja was actually coming through with the higher work rate and outlanding the historically defensively sound Cuban, and although Rigo was delivering the crisper punches, Ceja was up on many outside observers scorecards at the time of the stoppage.
It will be interesting to see how much of the Rigo we saw Sunday night is a conscious change in style to combat the past criticism, or if much of it stems from him being 38 years of age. With the bout being a WBC title eliminator, we should see soon enough if he can bang with the top tier young blood of the division.