Rigondeaux retains WBA super-bantamweight belt

by Rebecca Bryan, Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jun 10 2012 10:59 AM | Updated as of Jun 10 2012 07:13 PM

LAS VEGAS - (UPDATED) Cuba's Guillermo Rigondeaux retained his World Boxing Association super-bantamweight world title on Saturday with a fifth-round technical knockout of American Teon Kennedy.

WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (L) of Cuba celebrates after knocking out Teon Kennedy of the U.S. during their title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada June 9, 2012. Photo by Steve Marcus, Reuters.

Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic champion for Cuba now fighting out of Miami, remained unbeaten as a professional, improving to 10-0 with eight knockouts.

His dominant performance came on the undercard of Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao's World Boxing Organization welterweight title defense against unbeaten American Tim Bradley.

Rigondeaux knocked Kennedy down with a punishing left in the first round and sent him to the canvas twice in the second round and again in the fourth.

When another left sent Kennedy reeling in the fifth, referee Russell Mora called a halt at 1:11 of the round.

Rigondeaux, 31, made the first defense of the title he won with a sixth-round knockout of Rico Ramos on January 20.

Kennedy fell to 17-2-2.

"All of my punches are great," Rigondeaux said. "I have no bad ones."

Kennedy said Rigondeaux's speedy hands made the difference.

"Rigondeaux has the kind of punches you can't see," the American said. "He is real quick."

Rigondeaux called it one of the best fights of his young pro career.

"But I have a lot of big fights ahead," he added.

The Cuban has already complained that some of the talent-laden division's best -- including Filipino WBO champion Nonito Donaire, World Boxing Council champ Toshiaki Nishioka of Japan and International Boxing Federation champ Jeffrey Mathebula -- are ducking him.

Donaire and Mathebula are slated to fight to unify their world titles in Los Angeles on July 7.

Also on the undercard, underdog Randall Bailey lived up to his reputation as a power puncher with an 11th-round knockout of previously unbeaten Mike Jones in an all-American fight for the vacant International Boxing Federation welterweight title.

A careful Jones, who had never been knocked down in his career, appeared on his way to a victory over a reticent Bailey when Bailey sent him sprawling on his back with a right to the nose in the 10th round.

At 2:52 of the 11th, Bailey caught Jones with a searing upper-cut to end it.

Bailey, who improved to 43-7 with 37 knockouts, was overcome with emotion, weeping as he waited for the official result to be announced.

"Nobody knows what I go through outside of this ring to prepare myself to come in and do what I've got to do," Bailey said.

"Take nothing away from Mike Jones. He was a tough guy," Bailey said, adding his thought as he connected with the decisive blow was "Go down, Mike, please."

Jones, who fell to 26-1 with 19 knockouts, said he just got caught by a solid punch.

"I got caught with a good clean shot," Jones said. "No excuses, he was the better man tonight.

"Later on in the rounds I got a little careless. I thought I was winning the fight. But no excuses."

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