John Riel Casimero will try to defend his WBO bantamweight championship against the 40-year-old Guillermo Rigondeaux in what looks like the most evenly matched battle on a night of marquee boxing fights.
Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) rides a six-fight winning streak into the bout at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Fight vs. Inoue may await winner
Neither Casimero nor Rigondeaux rates as the top name in the bantamweight division. Naoya Inoue (21-0, 18 KOs) clearly holds that distinction. But both men are legitimate world class fighters at 118 pounds, and the winner could well earn a shot at the Japanese superstar.
Casimero has consistently fought better and better competition in his recent run, and has scored third-round knockouts against Zolani Tete and Duke Micah in his past two fights. The Filipino fighter plans to do the same to Rigondeaux.
“I have a surprise for Rigondeaux on Saturday night. He will maybe last three rounds,” Casimero told reporters. “I’ve stopped my last six opponents and Rigondeaux is next…I finish Rigondeaux, then maybe [Nonito] Donaire or Inoue will be next.”
Rigondeaux (20-1, 13 KOs) is nearing the end of a long and successful career. The Cuban won two Olympic gold medals, and has beaten big names like Donaire and Julio Ceja. His only career loss came to the legendary Vasiliy Lomachenko in 2017.
Now, Rigondeaux gets what might his last good chance at a major world title. The veteran says he’s not intimidated by Casimero’s talk or his record.
“I’m tired of hearing this guy talk trash. They’re all clowns from the circus,” Rigondeaux said in Spanish at the press conference. “Who has this guy fought? Let’s see what happens on Saturday. He’s got serious problems for he’ll be facing the devil.”
Casimero wants action-packed fight
Oddsmakers see Casimero as the favorite, but are predicting a competitive bout. DraftKings Sportsbook rates Casimero as the -230 pick to win, with Rigondeaux at +185 to pull off a slight upset.
If Rigondeaux wins, it will likely be by decision. Never the most exciting fighter – many have called him boring throughout his career – Rigondeaux stands and fights far more late in his career, but still isn’t one to press the action. He’s a +250 pick to win by decision, but just +750 to score a stoppage.
|Casimero vs. Rigondeaux Odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook)|
|John Riel Casimero: -230||Guillermo Rigondeaux: +185|
|Method of Victory|
|Casimero by KO/TKO/DQ: -115||Rigondeaux by KO/TKO/DQ: +750|
|Casimero by Decision: +450||Rigondeaux by Decision: +250|
On the other hand, Casimero brings power to his fights and isn’t afraid to use it, often seeking out exchanges against his opponents. DraftKings lists Casimero as a -115 pick to win by KO or TKO, but just +450 to win by decision.
Casimero certainly prefers an active fight, and he wasn’t subtle about that in his press conference.
“I want this to be a fight. The fans want this to be a fight,” Casimero said. “I hope Rigondeaux doesn’t run. If he does, this will be a boring fight. His old fights are no good. All he does is run, run, run. I want the Rigondeaux that doesn’t run, the one that boxes and fights.”