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Guillermo Rigondeaux: I'm a crossword puzzle — that's why other fighters avoid me

Erika Montoya
Guillermo Rigondeaux: I'm a crossword puzzle — that's why other fighters avoid meGettyImages
Exclusive: The Cuban was not short of confidence as he spoke to DAZN Espanol ahead of facing Johnriel Casimero on Saturday.

Guillermo Rigondeaux is convinced that he is making history, not only because of his style and achievements — which has positioned him as one of the most talented fighters in recent decades — but also because he is extending a career in divisions where an elite fighter beyond the age of 35 is extremely rare.

This weekend in Carson, California, and back in bantamweight, El Chacal will challenge Filipino champion John Riel Casimero in a showdown for the WBO crown.

And in this exclusive interview with DAZN (translated from Spanish), Rigondeaux discussed a wide range of topics.

What do you want to show the fans with this fight?

That I'm still the best 118-pounder and 122-pounder of all time. I'm going to rank myself there, step by step. My loss to Lomachenko meant nothing, because for me it was a three division fight, It was an out of the ordinary fight because nobody wanted to fight at 118.

Do you think people were very hard on you after Lomachenko?

If they criticize you for winning, imagine if how much criticize you for losing. The balance is on both sides. If you win you get criticized, if you lose you get more criticism. That's normal. If I read the criticism, good and bad, for me that's nothing that surprises me. I have always been a winner and I only lost one fight, there are champions who have lost seven or eight fights and I lost one fight, but in three divisions above, because in 118 and 122 I have never lost.

John Riel Casimero is going to face the toughest opponent of his career in you, especially because of your style.

That's where he's going to get confused, he dreams of me, the trainer, the manager dreams of me. Every time they talk they have to mention Rigondeaux. They dream about me. They are going to go crazy.

How do you feel about being in the position you're in, knowing that everyone you face will want to add your name to their record?

Right there, then, is where the second part comes in, I'm ready for everybody. For everything that every fighter brings. What happens there is they get frustrated. What I do there is that I hesitate and the more uncomfortable they get, the more I enjoy being in the ring and I do everything I want to do. They are boxers who have only one style, they have no other strategy, most of them fight forwards and nothing else, and when you change their plan, the fight is over.

Does it matter that you are considered by many specialists to be one of the best technicians of the moment?

I think so. Because I am a boxer who is attack and counterattack. That is very difficult to do, because it is very complicated. Most of them don't know how to punch on the move and I know how to do it. That's what makes me different.

I was referring more to a sense of commitment, that you feel obligated to live up to expectations.

It's a yes, I have to do it, regardless of the opponent. It's a yes because I know I can do it and I am. Of course I am 100 percent.

You are 40 years old in a division where you rarely see veterans. How do you see your future in boxing?

It's very difficult at a small weight to last until that age and with that boxing, but since I'm a very complicated boxer, I'm not just punching and punching and punching, it's very difficult and that's why I've stayed until now. But I am aware that in small weights they never reach that age, never, it doesn't exist.

How far do you want to go?

Until the seawall dries up and it will never dry up.

So you see yourself boxing until you're 50?

That way, that way, that way, we are thinking about those. Don't think we're not, we're there.

Speaking specifically in the batamweight division, who would you like to fight?

I've heard that question so much and being the 122-pound super champion... the worst thing is that I say a name and that name ends up saying he's not interested in fighting me. He doesn't want to fight anyone at 122. Now I'm at 118 and Casimero showed up, now let me beat Casimero and see who shows up? or disappears

Do you feel that they keep avoiding you?

Everyone is, because they know I'm a crossword puzzle in the ring, they know that to beat me they have to multiply by 100 and it's very difficult. Fighting me is very complicated.

Isn't it frustrating to know that you can have very good fights but they prefer not to face you?

They know. I have boxing, I can box, I can do this and that. Today I can go one way, tomorrow another, I'm very difficult. But it doesn't make me angry, not at all, I'm used to those things. That's why I walk calmly. It's something that has always touched me, since I was an Olympian and I've been watching. That's why when they say they want to be champions but don't want to fight me I realize that they don't really want to be champions.

A fighter aspires to the biggest fights available and it must suck to have those opponents take that opportunity away from you.

That's right, that happens. But I'm in there quietly and I keep proving myself. Every time that happens I prove and it happens again and I keep proving.