By Eric Raskin
It was supposed to be Guillermo Rigondeaux’s crowning moment, his chance to shout “I’m going to Disney World!” as confetti fell from the ceiling and the multitudes chanted his name. But when he cupped his hand around his ear, the Cuban master craftsman didn’t hear echoes of “Rig-on-deaux! Rig-on-deaux!” He heard boos. And then it got worse. He heard his own promoter declare him virtually un-promotable.
All Rigondeaux did on the night of April 13, 2013 was decisively outpoint Nonito Donaire, who came into the fight as high as number three on some people’s pound-for-pound lists and no lower than fifth on anyone’s. Donaire is arguably the best fighter who has lost a bout in 2013 (Juan Manuel Marquez being the only possible alternative choice), making Rigondeaux the fighter who beat the best fighter anybody beat this year. On top of that, he got off the canvas to do it and dominated the final round, usually sure indicators of guts and mettle and all those intangible qualities that fans prize.