Guillermo Rigondeaux and Terry Flanagan retain titles
For the six minutes it endured, the world title bout between Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux and James “Jazza” Dickens Saturday in Cardiff, Wales, looked to be another edition of the Cuban tactician bamboozling another opponent into a demure mess of a so-called fighter. But after the second round ended, Dickens suffered a broken jaw and the fight was suddenly over, resulting in a TKO victory for “El Chacal.”
With the win, Rigondeaux successfully defended his WBA junior featherweight title.
A precise counter left hand in the second round was the catalyst. It happened in a flash and was only a handful of punches that landed during the fight’s entirety. Dickens, 22-2 (7), would’ve been hard-pressed to argue that even one of those punches came from him. Like most Rigondeaux opponents, the Liverpool native had a tough time letting his hands go and, with Rigondeaux known as the counter-puncher, the two took part in a feint fest for much of the fight.
Rigondeaux, 17-0 (11), proved why fighters elect to not face him and why, once they do step into the ring with him, they don’t choose to engage. The 35-year-old is near perfect in his countering tactics and defense, as well as having some serious power for a 122-pounder. Fighting for the first time in the United Kingdom, Rigondeaux was welcomed with open arms by Brits and, while watching him Saturday night, mouths were closed and eyes were wide open.
The win over Dickens is no feather in Rigondeaux’s cap, in terms of having it gain him momentum going forward, but neither was his brightest win against Nonito Donaire over three years ago. Contrary to the aftermath of that night, he left English fans wanting more. Frank Warren, who promoted the card on Saturday night, announced he wants Rigondeaux back and as soon as possible, a signs of support that Rigondeaux didn’t receive after beating Donaire. The Cuban defector may have found a new home across the Atlantic.
Also on the same card hosted at the Ice Arena, Terry Flanagan beat 42-year-old Mzonke Fana to retain his WBO lightweight title but didn’t necessarily impress, despite winning every round. The official ringside judges all turned in unanimous scores of 120-106.
Flanagan, 31-0 (12), looked flat against the fidgety South African but a left hook in the fourth round sent Fana to the canvas. Flanagan, 27, tried to close the show but wound up with a cut under his right eye from a clash of heads. Fana, 38-10 (16), had some spirited moments with overhand rights over the next few rounds but Flanagan would quickly bring him back down to Earth with flurries highlighted by a nice uppercut.
Given his age, perhaps it was a moral victory for Fana to survive a spry lightweight titleholder in Flanagan. Near the end of the final round, a flurry from Flanagan forced Fana to the canvas again for a knockdown but Fana didn’t let the young man stop him. Flanagan, who fights out of Manchester, seemed to realize this wasn’t the best look for him, giving off a disappointing tone in the post-fight interview, despite pitching a shutout.