Alan Dawson – London
Cuban southpaw Guillermo Rigondeaux produced masterfully outclassed Teon Kennedy on Saturday, June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena as the 31-year-old, in his tenth professional fight, scored five knockdowns and a technical knockout victory in a power punch perfect performance. In unorthodox fashion, Rigo abandoned the jab and instead relied upon the incredible variety of ways he could land his left fist.
Official verdict: Rigondeaux by way of fifth round TKO.
The variety of Rigondeaux’s fistic weaponry was on display within the opening 90 seconds and involved particularly devastating straight left punches that continually buckled the knees of Kennedy. This, combined with uppercuts, body blows and left hooks countered over the right hand were all thrown at an astonishingly fast pace and ultimately proved too much for Kennedy to handle in the opening session. The challenger for Guillermo’s WBA super bantamweight world title belt even touched down on the canvas with a glove following an unanswered bombardment of shots but composed himself in order to hear the bell that closed round one.
Despite his technical prowess and amateur background, Rigondeaux did not operate behind the jab and, when Kennedy took a step forward, he was oft depleted of energy and confidence due to a precise left uppercut. In the final minute of the second stanza, Rigo twice decked Kennedy… the first (and second of the night) was caused by a crisp right hand while the next knockdown arrived mere moments later as Teon had no clear answer for the unrelenting accuracy of Guillermo’s fists.
Kennedy sharpened up his defences in the third round and was alert to Rigondeaux’s left hand. A boxer blessed with fine balance and a spatial appreciation inside the ring, Rigondeaux’s defensive capability perplexed Kennedy and, in the fourth, the Cuban could be seen slipping and sliding out of harm’s way. With a clean left straight landing flush on the chin, Kennedy was felled again in the fourth but protested the decision of the referee – Russell Mora – to administer a count as he claimed he simultaneously received a step on his foot.
At the beginning of the fifth round, Rigondeaux scored his fifth knockdown – again with a chin-bound fist – and while Kennedy did not appear truly hurt, the beatdown had been so dominant that Mora waved the bout off and awarded a technical knockout Rigondeaux’s way. With the resounding victory, Rigo upped his record to 10-0-0, 8ko, made a successful first defence of his world championship at 122lbs and, considering the headlines and buzz his triumph will create, could move closer to a fight of significance with fellow world titlist Nonito Donaire.