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Pacquiao undercard fighter Guillermo Rigondeaux ready for his moment

November 11, 2010 |  1:09 pm

Ko_300 Guillermo Rigondeaux is a Cuban refugee and two-time Olympic boxing champion.

Off to a 6-0 start as a pro fighter, his veteran trainer says the 30-year-old is the best fighter he's ever crossed paths with, with footwork like Muhammad Ali and with the punching power of a middleweight.

Since Rigondeaux is a junior-featherweight, that's saying something.

On Saturday, he'll fight Panama's Ricardo Cordoba (37-2-2, 23 KOs) on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito bout at Cowboys Stadium outside Dallas.

"Get your popcorn and peanuts ready if you haven't seen this guy," said Rigondeaux's trainer, Ronnie Shields, who has also worked with Evander Holyfield and Vernon Forrest. "If you like boxing at its purest, you'll love this kid.

"He won't throw 100 punches to knock you out. He sets up everything. Good jabs. Good head movement, defense. And one of the best punchers I've ever seen. In my heart, I know Guillermo will catch this [Cordoba] kid clean and knock him out."

Rigondeaux, who won Olympic gold in 2000 and 2004, defected to the U.S. in 2009, and expressed excitement to show the expected 50,000-plus in attendance "what Cuban boxing is all about."

Promoter Bob Arum said Rigondeaux has the skill to become the greatest pro Cuban boxer of the Castro era since Joel Casamayor.

"I don't look for that kind of recognition," Rigondeaux said. "I do this for myself."

--Lance Pugmire

Photo: Cuba's Guillermo Rigondeaux pauses after knocking down USA's Clarence Vinson during their 54 kg semifinals boxing bout at the XXVII Summer Games in Sydney on Sept. 28, 2000. Credit: Rick Bowmer / Associated Press.