Ring inactivity lately has kept Guillermo Rigondeaux in the gym instead of arenas. The Miami resident and reigning 122-pound world champion’s fight calendar remained vacant since last summer.
For Rigondeaux, the waiting for bouts finally ends on June 17. Rigondeaux will defend his World Boxing Association super-bantamweight title against Moises Flores in Las Vegas.
The bout will be part of the pay-per-view telecast headlined by the light-heavyweight title rematch between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev.
“I’m very grateful to fight on such a big platform, and I want to let boxing fans know to expect nothing but an exciting fight,” Rigondeaux said after a recent workout at Tropical Park Gym.
In Rigondeaux’s previous pay-per-view telecast, however, the native of Cuba dealt with critics’ accusations that his performance lacked action. Rigondeaux won a convincing decision over Drian Francisco on the undercard of the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez-Miguel Cotto fight in November 2015 but was criticized for not pressing the attack against an inferior opponent.
“My opponents feel my power and run after the first round,” Rigondeaux said. “Flores is a brave undefeated boxer that is coming with all he has, and we’re ready to show which of us is the best on June 17.”
The performance against Francisco didn’t dissuade boxing experts from removing Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs) among boxing’s top fighters.
Rigondeaux won Olympic gold medals in 2000 and 2004 representing his native Cuba, and his boxing skills have maintained him among the sport’s elite.
“I have been constantly avoided by all the fighters in my division,” Rigondeaux said. “I am the best in the world at 122 pounds and one of the top pound-for-pound fighters. I can’t wait to show the world that I am still the best.”
Rigondeaux and Flores (25-0, 17 KOs) originally were scheduled to fight Feb. 25 on the undercard of a pay-per-view bout between Cotto and James Kirkland.
But the fight and card was canceled after Kirkland sustained a broken nose during training.
A native of Mexico, Flores is considered Rigondeaux’s stiffest challenge since he faced Nonito Donaire in 2013. Before their fight, Donaire was listed high on many pound-for-pound lists until Rigondeaux won a unanimous decision.
“I respect [Flores], he’s a great fighter and these are the types of big fights that are great for boxing,” Rigondeaux said. “Nothing better than two undefeated fighters putting their records on the line.”
AROUND THE RING
▪ Davie resident Teofimo Lopez continues to fight at a frequent pace in the first year of his professional career. A month after his second-round knockout win over Ronald Rivas on May 20, Lopez is scheduled to fight again June 23 in Orlando.
Lopez’s opponent in the lightweight bout has not been named.
Son of Honduran parents, Lopez represented the Central American country in the 2016 Olympics. Lopez, 19, is 5-0 with five knockouts since turning professional in November 2015.
▪ Miami resident Sullivan Barrera has landed another HBO date. The premium cable network will telecast Barrera’s fourth consecutive fight when he faces Joe Smith on July 15 at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
Smith (23-1, 19 KOs) ended the career of former middleweight and light-heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins with an eighth-round knockout win Dec. 17.
Barrera (19-1, 14 KOs) rebounded from his lone professional loss against Ward in March 2016 with knockout victories over Vyacheslav Shabranskyy and Paul Parker.