Guillermo Rigondeaux stripped of WBA’s 122-pound title after Lomachenko loss
The WBA vowed to strip Guillermo Rigondeaux of his junior featherweight title if he lost to Vasyl Lomachenko.
And now, the organization has followed through.
In a curious decision, the WBA withdrew recognition from Rigondeaux as its 122-pound champion, even though his listless defeat to Lomachenko on December 10 took place two weight classes above at 130 pounds.
It’s common practice for fighters to hold a title in one weight division and still compete in another, as long as they quickly make a decision afterward on which weight class they’ll compete in.
Sometimes they don’t even have to decide quickly. Mikey Garcia hasn’t fought at 135 pounds since a knockout of Dejan Zlaticanin one year ago. His next fight, against Sergey Lipinets next month, also isn’t at 135, but yet he still holds the WBC lightweight belt.
Canelo was given similar time when he held the WBO junior middleweight belt, yet was competing at middleweight.
Rigondeaux was afforded no such luxury.
And the WBA can’t argue that it had anything to do with the Cuban remaining at 130 pounds. After all, he would only be stripped if he lost.
Not only is Rigondeaux no longer recognized as champion, he’s been removed from the WBA ratings altogether.
Danny Roman, previously the organization’s “regular” junior featherweight titlist, has been elevated to its main titleholder and Moises Flores remains an interim titleholder.
Danny Roman, who isn’t the same caliber of Rigondeaux, was elevated from “regular” titleholder to full champion. Moises Flores, whom Rigondeaux knocked out in one round in June before it was overturned to a no contest, remains the WBA’s interim champ.
“I think it’s very unfair,” Alex Boronte, who manages Rigondeaux, told ESPN. “We fought at 130 pounds. What does that have to do with anything at 122 pounds, where Rigo was champion?
“They just had it in for us. His inactivity has totally screwed him. Rigo has been inactive and when you’re inactive the WBA is not getting any sanctioning fees, so they’ve had it in for us.”
There’s no questioning Rigondeaux’s stinker of a performance against Lomachenko. But why that should affect the two-time Olympic gold medalist at 122 pounds, where he’s reigned for years and remains THE RING’s No. 1 fighter?
“I didn’t think it would be such a horrible performance,” Bornote said. “It’s another nail in his coffin in his career. It’s the Rigo story. Never have I ever seen such a thing. He has no luck at all.”