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Casimero aims for early knockout of Rigondeaux in WBO title clash

Roy Luarca
Casimero aims for early knockout of Rigondeaux in WBO title clash

KO STREAK. Johnriel Casimero has knocked out his last six opponents.

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Discarding predictions of a tough bout, Casimero regards Rigondeaux as 'easy work' in the WBO title bout

Is Johnriel Casimero really the new terror of the bantamweight division?

Guillermo Rigondeaux will find out when he tries to snatch Casimero’s World Boxing Organization crown on Saturday, August 14 (Sunday, August 15, Philippine time).

Discarding predictions of a tough bout, Casimero regards Rigondeaux as “easy work,” vowing to dispose of the two-time Olympic and two-time world amateur champion within three rounds of the Showtime card headliner at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

“Eight letters, two words (easy work),” said Casimero during his first recovery meal after Friday’s official weigh-in at Hyatt Regency LAX.

Casimero tipped the scales at an exact 118 pounds while Rigondeaux checked in lighter at 117.5.

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“I want to prove that I could knock him out and the fans want it that way too,” said Casimero, who has knocked out his last six opponents en route to a 30-4 record with 21 knockouts.

What worried Casimero though was Rigondeaux might opt not to slug it out and fight from a distance once the touted Cuban feels his power.

Calling Casimero a clown for his trash-talking and referring to himself as the devil, Rigondeaux said he intended to make the pride of Ormoc City his third Filipino victim after 4-division world champion Nonito Donaire and Drian Francisco.

According to Casimero, he’ll surprise on Saturday to catch Rigondeaux (20-1, 13 knockouts) off-guard.

It won’t come easy, of course, as Rigondeaux has only tasted defeat once, quitting on his stool after six rounds against former pound-for-pound king Vasyl Lomachenko.

The usually silent Nonoy Neri, Casimero’s trainer, said on Friday the plan was to soften up Rigondeaux with body blows then finish him off inside six rounds.

Neri, also one of Manny Pacquiao’s training assistants, said Casimero won’t do head-hunting as Rigondeaux’s face is too small.

Rather, Casimero would unleash “effective body punches intended to kill.”
Of course, Neri doesn’t want Casimero to go reckless.

“He (Casimero) needs to feel out Rigondeaux in the first round before going for an all-out assault,” said Neri, who revealed that Casimero is even stronger than the one who knocked out Zolani Tete in 3 rounds in 2019.

Surprisingly, bettors have made Casimero a -230 favorite and the 40-year-old Rigondeaux a +190 underdog. Meaning a $230 bet on Casimero would yield just $100 if he wins while a $100 wager on Rigondeaux becomes $190 if the Cuban prevails.

Donaire was supposed to be Casimero’s opponent on Saturday, but “The Filipino Flash” backed out and Rigondeaux, his conqueror in 2013 in New York, was tapped as a substitute.

Casimero believed an imposing win over Rigondeaux would make Donaire and his conqueror Naoya Inoue avoid him even more.

But Casimero has no choice as Rigondeaux is blocking his path to greatness. –

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