In a battle of ageing former world champions, Guillermo Rigondeaux meets Venezuelan born Liborio Solis for the vacant WBA world bantamweight title as co-feature with Gary Russell Jr against unbeaten mandatory challenger Tugstsogt “King Tug” Nyambayar on Saturday, February 8th live on Showtime from PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The fight was originally due to take place on the Tony Harrison vs Jermell Charlo rematch card on 21st December at The Toyota Arena in Ontario, California but has to be postponed when Solis failed to be granted a visa in time.
At 39 time is surely running out on the wizard-like Rigondeaux. In his last fight on 23rd June, ‘El Chacal’ (‘The Jackal’) looked back to his best, choosing to stand and trade with the teak-tough Mexican Julio Ceja who only 5 months later fought to a split decision draw against 22-year-old WBA world super-bantamweight champion Brandon Figueroa, proving that time has not caught up with him yet.
It must be strange for the 37-year-old Solis to come into any fight as the younger man nowadays, but he will have his hands full with the silky skills of the Miami based Cuban despite Rigondeaux’s lack of action in recent years.
Winning the Interim WBA world super-bantamweight title against Panamanian Ricardo Cordoba (37-2-2) on the Pacquiao v Margarito undercard in only his seventh professional bout in November 2010, Rigondeaux went on to get his career-defining win when he took on modern great Nonito Donaire in a WBA/WBO unification duel, winning by unanimous decision in April 2013.
In December 2017, the defensively superb Cuban made the huge mistake of giving away 8lbs in natural weight to the former 2 times Olympic and world amateur gold medallist and now 3-weight professional world titlist Vasiliy Lomachenko, having to retire after 6 rounds against the P4P king.
A 1st round Ko of Mexican Giovanni Delgado did nothing but blow off a few cobwebs after 18 months out of the ring, but his stoppage of Ceja was impressive, to say the least.
Liborio Solis is a former WBA and IBF world super-flyweight titleholder. Some consider him unfortunate not to have won the WBA bantamweight crown after two attempts against Britain’s Jamie McDonnell in 2016 and 2017. Both fights taking place in Monte Carlo.
Unbeaten in five fights since the McDonnell rematch, Solis (30-5-1, 14 Ko’s) gets what must be considered a last chance at world title glory, but the way Rigondeaux looked against Ceja doesn’t bode well for the Panama City-based Venezuelan.
Prediction: Rigondeaux to win a points decision.