Fighter of the Year: Guillermo Rigondeaux

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Another year of boxing has come and gone, but the two performances handed in by Guillermo Rigondeaux remain as impressive as ever. In a year where a number of fighters had stellar runs, Rigondeuax’s performances stand out for their sheer dominance, if not their entertainment value.

Rigondeaux started his 2013 campaign off by dominating Nonito Donaire en route to a wide unanimous decision. Prior to his defeat against Rigondeaux, Donaire had not lost in over ten years and was universally recognized as the #3 pound for pound fighter in the world. Rigondeaux won 11 of the scheduled 12 rounds, and the only thing that kept him from shutting Donaire out was the ref allowing Donaire to throw a punch and a forearm on the break. What is so impressive about this performance, not only did Rigondeaux easily beat Donaire, but he broke his will. Donaire came out fast in the first round and was immediately cracked with a hard straight left hand, which gave him immediate respect for the Cuban’s power. Many times throughout the fight Donaire would start a round fast as per Robert Garcia’s instructions, only to be taught better by a Rigondeaux left hand. Rigondeaux’s dominance was never more evident than in the 12th round, Donaire was far behind and needed a knockout to win. However, it was Rigondeaux who pressed for the knockout, with Donaire fighting to just stay on his feet.

After a long layoff, due mainly to HBO’s refusal to show him fight, Rigondeaux returned in December to dominate and shut out former title holder Joseph Agbeko. Agbeko’s biggest wins were over the likes of Vic Darchinyan and Yohnny Gonzalez. Agbeko had never been soundly beaten, always being competitive with the best bantamweights in worlds whether in victory or defeat. Rigondeaux’s victory over Agbeko was as one sided as you will ever see, all three official judges scored the bout twelve rounds to none for the former gold-medalist.

In the entire year Rigondeaux lost only one round and that round is very disputable. Not only did Rigondeaux dominate two world class fighters, but he also put an entire division on notice, and appears to be nearly unbeatable. These accomplishments made it fairly easy for me to crown him fighter of the year.

What do you think of Rigondeaux’s 2013? Who do you think should be fighter of the year? Let me know in the comments section below.

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