Sports & Recreation

Comments (0)

Best Boxer Miami 2013 - Guillermo Rigondeaux

His fists are worth $750,000. And his smile is gold — literally. After winning two medallas de oro fighting for the Cuban boxing team at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, Guillermo "El Chacal" Rigondeaux returned to the island, resumed his ascetic training schedule, and lived like a common campesino. He was a national hero. He was even — according to another Cuban boxing legend and two-time Olympic champ, Héctor Vinent — "the greatest boxer who ever lived." But he was still broke. And his prize medallions were worth only a couple hundred pesos. So Guillermo settled on fixing his teeth. "I melted my Olympic medals," he once explained, "into my mouth." A few years later, though, finally fed up with a life of poverty and the lack of opportunity in Cuba, Rigondeaux decided to defect. And just like so many of the island's fighters over the past six decades (not to mention several world-class Cuban contemporaries, including Yuriorkis Gamboa and Erislandy Lara), he moved to Miami. But already 29, Guillermo was turning pro at an advanced age. And unlike Gamboa's and Lara's careers, Rigondeaux's was starting slow. Despite being widely recognized as one of the best amateur fighters of the past half-century, Rigondeaux stands only five feet five inches tall. He weighs 122 pounds. And he isn't a headhunter. He is, however, a preternaturally skilled boxer with serious punching power. So over the past couple of years, he quietly compiled a perfect 12-0 record. He won the WBA Super Bantamweight belt. And then he broke out, methodically maiming Filipino-American champ Nonito Donaire (a WBO titleholder who's been almost universally heralded as a top-five pound-for-pound fighter) over the course of a 12-round bout in April. He won the unanimous decision. He cashed a $750,000 check. He flashed that gold smile. And even the naysayers were forced to admit that "El Chacal" is most definitely the real deal.

My Voice Nation Help
0 comments

Slideshows

Loading...