Rigondeaux tops Agbeko in unanimous decision

WBA and WBO super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux

retained his titles with a 12-round, unanimous decision over former

two-time bantamweight champ Joseph Agbeko on Saturday.

All three judges had Rigondeaux winning every round, with

identical scores of 120-108.

”I came to do what I need to do,” he said through an

interpreter. ”Every time out there, I try to improve. I’m

improving every day. I had no problems in any round.”

Rigondeaux, a native of Cuba now living in Miami, delivered a

solid-yet-conservative performance.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist is considered one of boxing’s

top pound-for-pound fighters, but draws criticism for his

style.

He generated cheers from the crowd in the sixth round by landing

five straight powerful left crosses to Agbeko’s midsection, but

otherwise was content to stay on the outside and pepper his

Ghanaian opponent with right jabs and left hooks before dancing out

of danger.

Agbeko also deserved criticism for the slow pace, averaging only

29 punches per round.

”I felt strong throughout the fight, it was just tough to get

to him,” Agbeko said. ”I hurt my right hand early and couldn’t

throw it much. But it was hard to catch him. He’s very fast and

he’s got great footwork.”

Rigondeaux was making his fourth defense of the WBA title he

gained by knocking out former champion Rico Ramos in the sixth

round in January 2012. He followed with a fifth-round TKO over Teon

Kennedy and a 12-round decision over Roberto Marooquin before

adding the WBO belt with his stunning, 12-round decision over

Nonito Donaire last April.

Agbeko was a two-time IBF bantamweight champ who made the jump

from 118 pounds (53.5 kilograms) to 122 (55) for the first time

Saturday.

In the co-feature, middleweight James Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs)

registered a sixth-round TKO over formerly unbeaten prospect Glen

Tapia (20-1).

Referee Steve Smoger halted the fight at 38 seconds in the sixth

when Kirkland pinned Tapia against the ropes and landed a half

dozen unanswered punches.

In the night’s other top fight, English middleweight Matthew

Macklin (30-5, 20 KOs) earned a 10-round, unanimous decision over

Lamar Russ (14-1).