By Jim Dower: WBA Super World/IBO super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (18-0, 12 KOs) stopped #1 WBA challenger Moises “Chucky” Flores (25-1, 17 KOs) in the 1st round on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Rigondeaux grabbed the 30-year-old Flores behind the head with his left hand and hit him with 2 uppercuts to the head. When the referee Vic Drakulich approached to get stop Rigondeaux from holding and hitting, he then nailed Flores with a big left hand to the head that sent him down in a delayed reaction. Flores lay on his back and couldn’t get up.
The referee Drakulich then needed 5 minutes to decide on how to score the fight. After watching the final sequence on replay and speaking to a person from Nevada State Athletic Commission, Drakulich then ruled that Rigondeaux had won the fight by a 1st round knockout.
During the discussion that Drakulich had, he considered disqualifying Rigondeaux for holding and hitting. There was also talk of ruling it a no contest. Drakulich said he wasn’t sure if the punch that Rigondeaux had landed for the knockout had come after the bell or not, as he was moving forward to stop from holding and hitting, which had done twice. However, Rigondeaux’s left-hand knockout blow came after he let go of Flores’ head.
It looked like a legal blow. The only thing they needed to determine was whether the punch came before or after the bell. It appeared came after the bell. You can argue that Drakulich messed up with that part of his ruling. He was correct in determining that the punch wasn’t a foul from him holding and hitting. But the shot did appear to come after the bell.
One thing that was very strange about the knockout was the way that Flores fell down in a delayed fashion. It looked like he wasn’t hurt initially. He seemed to have his senses after he was hit. But then he dropped to the canvas a fraction of a second later and laid there. You can never tell whether someone is hurt or not, but it sure looked suspicious with the way Flores fell down right when Drakulich was breaking the two fighters.
During the round, the 2-time Olympic gold medalist Rigondeaux hit Flores at will with single left hands to the head. Rigondeaux couldn’t miss with his left. For his part, Flores was missing badly with wild shots with both hands. It was like a comedy with the way the much taller 5’9” Flores was missing the 5’4” Rigondeaux with his punches.
In the last 30 seconds of the round, Flores was holding his left hand far out in front of him to measure Rigondeaux in order to improve his chances of connecting. Drakulich should have warned Flores to put his hand down, as you’re not supposed to do that. Never the less, Rigondeaux was still able to easily get out of the way of Flores’ shots almost every time. It was a masterful defensive performance by Rigondeaux.
In the last 5 seconds of the round, Flores opened up with several hard shots that missed. Rigondeaux then grabbed Flores quickly with left hand behind his hand and commenced to hitting him two times with big uppercuts with his hand. Rigondeaux then dropped Flores with a left hand just when Drakulich was stepping to break the two fighters.
I don’t think it would be a good idea for Flores to face Rigondeaux again after this fight. It was not a competitive fight. Flores was out of his depth more than some of the recent guys that Rigondeaux has faced. Flores needs to target one of the other world champions, because Rigondeaux has his number in a big way.
The way that Rigondeaux dominated Flores, I think he would always beat him no matter how many times they fight. If the World Boxing Association orders Rigondeaux and Flores to fight a rematch, they wouldn’t be doing Flores any favors. Flores’ promoter and management should move him in another direction. Flores is a lot better fighter than he showed tonight. He was just in with someone leagues better than him.
Rigondeaux needs to use this win and look to get some of the better fighters from the super bantamweight or featherweight division to face him. It would be great if Carl Frampton or Scott Quigg were willing to face Rigondeaux. Those would be great fights if they could happen. Rigondeaux needs to show off his stuff against the best. Rigondeaux is one of those guys that is too good for his own. Rigondeaux got a bum rap as being perceived by some in the boxing world as being a boring fighter after his one-sided 12 round decision win over Nonito Donaire.
Rigondeaux didn’t look boring tonight nor did he look boring in his previous fight in breaking the jaw of Jazz Dickens last July. The last time that Rigondeaux had any problems was oin his fight with the 5’10 ½” Hitashi Amagasa in 2014. Giving up 6 ½” inches in height, Rigondeaux was knocked down twice in the 7th round by Amagasa. Rigondeaux came back strong to drop Amagasa in the 9th round. The fight was stopped due to Amagasa’s cheek being badly swollen. He was no longer competitive and was just taking punishing left hands from Rigondeaux. It was target practice for Rigondeaux once he got knocked down twice in the 7th. He was going to make Amagasa pay and that’s exactly what he did.
After the fight, Rigondeaux said he’d be open to fighting former 3 division world champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez at a catch-weight or fight Vasyl Lomachenko. I don’t know if either of those fights can happen, as Lomachenko is not likely going to be interested in moving down in weight to fight Rigondeaux at a catch-weight. “Chocolatito” is having problems since he moved up to 115 pounds. If Chocolatito had to move up 5 to 7 pounds to fight Rigondeaux, I think he would out of his class. Rigondeaux would be too fast and powerful for Chocolatito. It would be a bad mismatch, but it would interest a lot of boxing fans.