Guillermo Rigondeaux has been knocked over the years for not being a spectacular puncher, but he leaves Las Vegas with his title under extreme controversy.
Rigondeaux knocked out Moises Flores to keep his WBA “super” super bantamweight title, but the controversy stemmed over what happened at the end of the first round that gave Rigondeaux the win.
Rigondeaux and Flores had a scuffle in the final seconds of the first round and Rigondeaux landed a punch that appeared to occur after the bell had rung that knocked out Flores for the count. The punch not only appeared to have landed after the bell had rung, but it was after Rigondeaux’s left hand seemed to be holding the back of Flores’ head which is illegal.
The fight was called off, but there was much deliberation over what is the actual decision. After the referee had met with another referee and the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission Bob Bennett. At first, it was being discussed that Rigondeaux’s hits were illegal and HBO announcer Harold Letterman had said that if a punch were to land after the bell and it caused sufficient injury that the fight would be stopped, it would be considered a no contest if it ended before four rounds had concluded.
In speaking with HBO’s Jim Lampley, Bennett initially said that the hit was legal.
“Unequivocally, the punch was thrown before the bell sounded,” Bennett said.
After about 30 minutes of debate, the final result was a knockout win for Rigondeaux, keeping his world title and his perfect record intact. What happened after the final call is what could potentially reverse the call.
Bennett admitted that he did not see a replay with audio that would indicate when the bell was rung. After being told by Lampley that the production truck's replay showed Flores was hit after the bell was rung, Bennett then said that the commission will review the decision and if the commission does see that the punch by Rigondeaux landed after the bell, then it will likely be reversed to a disqualification loss for Rigondeaux.
The fight was the co-feature for the Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev 2 pay-per-view card.