PHILLY BOXING HISTORY                                                                             June 09, 2012


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WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux displayed his spectacular boxing skills against Philadelphia's Teon Kennedy, dropping him five times in five rounds before referee Russell Mora halted the bout at 1:11 of round five. It was Rigondeaux's first title defense, and Kennedy's first try for a world title belt.

Kennedy tasted the southpaw champion's power as early as round one, when Rigondeaux landed the first of many straight left hands that would rock the challenger. The punch buckled Kennedy's knees, but he managed to stay on his feet. However, moments later another scorching left hit home and Kennedy tumbled to the canvas. He stood up immediately and was ready for more, and more is exactly what he received. 

In round two, the champ dropped Kennedy twice with left hands. The first came from a straight left, while the second trip to the floor came courtesy of a looping left. Teon rose both times, and went back to work, looking for an opportunity to change the momentum of the fight.  

In round three, if he did not change the fight's direction, Kennedy at least managed to slow Rigo's roll. The champ failed to knock Kennedy down, but still controlled the action. Rigondeaux was so quick and so accurate with his punches, that Kennedy was unable to mount any type of offense. The challenger boxed well, and really made no mistakes, but still it was clear that Kennedy could not match skills with Rigondeaux.

Even with Kennedy's defense held high and tight, Rigondeaux was able to drill his punches through the smallest of openings, or around Teon's properly placed guard. Errors by Kennedy were not necessary, as Rigondeaux showed exactly why he is considered to be a great fighter. His performance was spectacular.

It was more of the same in round four. Kennedy, reluctant to wage war after feeling the champion's artillery, was reduced to boxing carefully and waiting for a chance to counter punch. That opportunity never quite came. Rigondeaux deposited Kennedy to the floor again with another left, but once again it failed to finish the game challenger.

Kennedy came out for the fifth knowing that he had to take a chance - no matter how ill advised - to try turn things around. Kennedy fought aggressively, charging his way in once, but Rigondeaux was not to be  beaten. Finally about one minute into the round, another explosive left staggered Kennedy into the ropes. As Teon's glove brushed  the canvas and he struggled to straighten his body upward, referee Mora stopped the fight. The time was 1:11. 

A dejected Kennedy returned  to his corner, stunned by what had happened. Despite all the knockdowns, Teon seemed unhurt and willing to fight on. He is a skilled fighter and well-seasoned for a 20-bout pro, but there was nothing he could do to dull Rigondeaux's luster.

The lethal Cuban phenomenon is a great fighter capable of giving anyone in and around his weight class a serious challenge. At 10-0, 8 KOs, Rigondeaux will be fun to watch against Abner Mares, Yuriorkis Gamboa, and especially Nonito Donarie.

For Teon Kennedy, 17-2-2, 7 KOs, it was a tough night, but he showed a big heart, and good skills. He will be back. His only sin was not being in the same class as Rigondeaux, which is something very few boxers can claim today.


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John DiSanto - Las Vegas - June 09, 2012