The three preliminary fights on the pay-per-view portion of the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley card include two world championship fights that could rightly be seen as a proving ground for the four boxers involved.
Cuban defector Guillermo Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic champion hailed as the greatest amateur in history, is putting an unbeaten record and his World Boxing Council title on the line in a super bantamweight matchup with once-beaten Teon Kennedy of Philadelphia.
The knock on Rigondeaux (9-0, 7 knockouts) is that, after nearly 400 amateur fights in Cuba, he has had trouble transitioning to the pro style. Amateur fights last just three rounds and are scored on punches landed, meaning boxers concentrate on style of technique over punching power. In the pro ranks, title fights go 12 rounds and TV viewers want to see knockouts.
“If he keeps fighting the amateur style, he’s not marketable,” said promoter Bob Arum, who would like to match Rigondeaux against the likes of Abner Mares, Nonito Donaire or Rafael Marquez. “This is not the Olympics where people come and watch because it’s the Olympics. Here we’ve got to sell tickets.”