Canadian Corner: Rigondeaux hits Ottawa

Shawn Smith
05/11/2015 11:33am

If you had asked me to name the most unlikely boxer to fight in Canada, I might have said Guillermo Rigondeaux.

New Canadian promoter Gilles Morissette has signed Guillermo Rigondeaux to headline his inaugural show in Ottawa on 4 December. Mexican Mario Briones  26-4-2 (19 KOs) has emerged as the likely opponent. James Toney will co-headline the card. Other fighters expected to appear are former IBF 122lbs champion Steve Molitor and lightweight contender Tony Luis.

It’s been a rough few weeks for the Canadian contingent on the international stage, with some observers going as far to say that it is symbolic of a downturn in the nation’s quality of fighters.

First was David Lemieux’s predictable, one-sided loss to Gennady Golovkin. While many predicted a ‘fight of the year’ candidate, the Quebec-born fighter was unable to let his hands go, which resulted in a complete drubbing by the Kazakh superstar. Although it’s far too early to begin discussing Lemieux’s next fight, Curtis Stevens has been pushing for the bout on social media.

Dierry Jean followed in his stablemate’s footsteps, travelling to Omaha and losing to Terence Crawford in an HBO headlining bout. While Jean showed signs of life throughout the bout, Crawford overmatched him and stopped him in the 10th round.

Halloween night provided another jaded performance from 39-year-old Joachim Alcine, who lost via sixth round TKO to Jermell Charlo. Alcine said afterwards that he needed to speak to his wife to make sure he still wanted to fight.

While some have been quick to write off Canada’s fight scene, I’d argue that Golovkin and Crawford are two of the top five fighters in the world and Charlo is one of the brighter young stars in the sport. All three entered their respective fights as underdogs. 

There are a few regional shows coming up worth discussing.

The first is United Promotions’ show on 21 November, headlined by Brandon Cook defending his WBA Inter-Continental super-welterweight title against Rafael Pintos. The card features a few young fighters who may make waves on the Canadian scene, including Jessie Wilcox and Josh O’Reilly.

Steven Butler, arguably Canada’s top young fighter, will headline Eye of The Tiger Management’s show on 4 December. He’ll look to bounce back from a surprising draw against Jaime Herrera with an impressive performance against a yet to be named opponent.

Denton Daley’s next fight under the United Promotions banner was announced for 27 February in Mississauga, Ontario. Daley has gone 2-0 since an ugly knockout loss against Youri Kalenga. Not much is known about the card yet, but 9-0 Ryan Young is expected to co-headline.