July 19th, 2014. In Macau, China, headliner Guillermo Rigondeaux successfully held onto his WBA, WBO and RING Junior Featherweight titles after knocking out challenger Sod Kokietgym in the 1st round. The Cuban fighter arguably needed a knockout to ward off his detractors, but considering the weak challenge posed – and the nature of the knockout itself – it’s unlikely he will receive sugar and cream in the press.
Since the contest was so short in length, the knockout coming at the 1:44 mark, little can be analyzed except the knockout itself. After a minute or so of the round, Rigondeaux accidentally landed a head butt in the midst of an exchange which sent his challenger down to the canvas in a fair bit of pain.
And now comes the part that may have reminded spectators of a little incident between Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz – to a certain degree, anyway…
When Kokietgym felt able to continue, he resumed position in front of his dance partner, stuck his glove for a respectful ‘fist bump’, and then – bam! – Rignondeaux fired a right hook-left hand combination. As a result, Kokietgym fell to the canvas and wasn’t standing 10 seconds later.
Here comes the opinion splitting question: Should Rigondeaux have thrown those two fight-ending punches? Should he have touched gloves with his opponent first before resuming the action, and been a little more – though he in fact was – Queensberry? Or should Kokietgym have simply known better than to not protect yourself at all times?
Of course, this knockout was a lot less controversial than the one that closed Mayweather vs Ortiz; partly because it wasn’t on a pay per view extravaganza, but mostly because the initial head butt wasn’t intentional.
So, would the bout have played out differently had the displeasing knockout have not taken place? That’s hard to say given the pair only shared under two minutes of fight time. If the question has to be answered, it could be said that Rigondeaux was the classier, more dominant operator; he landed the better shots, which included a couple of hard left-counters. And if we go by Kokietgym’s mediocre record, it would seem he would have either been dominated or stopped somewhere along the line by Rigondeaux. We’ll never know.
It’s unlikely many fans are going to lose sleep over it – let’s put it that way. What most of them want to now see is Rigondeaux sharing the ring with a strong Junior Featherweight such as major title holders Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton. In 2015, we may well be treated to one of these salivating contests.
Unbeaten Rigondeaux now improves to 14 wins, 10 knockouts, while Thailand’s seasoned Kokietgym falls to 63 wins, 28 knockouts, 3 losses, 1 draw.
The night’s undercard saw China’s Olympic Medalist Zou Shiming pick up the vacant WBO International Flyweight title by soundly beating Luis De La Rosa. A Unanimous Decision was awarded, comprising scores of 97-93, 99-91 (twice).
Shiming landed some nice quick-fire combinations and looked the boss for much of the bout, but it has to be said that there is much more serious competition out there at Flyweight. Sure, this is only his 5th professional fight, but one wonders how far Shiming can go in the sport considering he turns 34 in March next year.
If he hopes to capture a world title in the 112 pound division, he needs to start stepping up in competition much sooner than later. At least with former trainer of the year Freddie Roach in his corner, he has a good chance of bringing one of those straps home to his native China.
What’s your take on Rigondeaux vs Kokietgym and the Cuban’s knockout? Fair and square pugilism perfectly within the rules? Or an unsightly scene of bad sportsmanship?
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