The bantamweight title fight between John Riel Casimero and Guillermo Rigondeaux did not at all thrill the fans at the Dignity Health Sports Complex in Carson, California, many of whom started booing late in the first round.
They continued to make their displeasure felt throughout the 12-round fight, as there was little action to cheer for. Casimero, the defending WBO bantamweight champion, chased Rigondeaux around the ring for 12 rounds, but had little success.
Rigondeaux, for his part, seemed content to pump his jab and keep Casimero at arm's length, but rarely threw any meaningful punches.
Casimero, who had predicted a third round knockout of Rigondeaux, was not pleased at how the fight unfolded. "I want a knockout," he said afterward. "All my fans want a knockout."
"But Rigondeaux is always running, running," he added.
Casimero would retain his title via split decision, but it was not a fight that displayed the best of his qualities.
An aggressive fighter who has won his last six fights by stoppage, Casimero threw 297 punches in the fight but landed just 47, for a 16% success rate, according to CompuBox. He landed just six of 130 jabs, and 41 of 167 power punches.
Rigondeaux threw 124 jabs and landed 16 of them, as well as 28 of only 97 power punches attempted. In the first round of the bout, Rigondeaux landed just one punch to Casimero's six; neither fighter landed more than seven punches in any of the rounds.
According to CompuBox, their combined 91 punches landed is the lowest total for a 12-round fight in their 36-year history.
"Casimero was awarded the decision due to his aggressiveness," the organization tweeted.
The previous record was 100 combined punches, during the Mario Barrios vs. Devis Boschiero in July 2016. Barrios won via unanimous decision in a bout that was also booed by fans at the Sun National Bank Center in New Jersey.
It's a record that Casimero is unlikely to be proud of, given his reputation as an all-action fighter. His promoter, Sean Gibbons of MP Promotions, did not bother to hide his disgust at what had transpired in the fight.
"It's embarrassing," Gibbons told Jim Gray of Showtime. "The man (Casimero) came in the best shape he can, to come in a real fight, to give the fans what they want."
"That was embarrassing. They should hold up that man's purse," he added, referring to Rigondeaux. "That was one of the worst displays of a fight I've ever seen."
Casimero would later tell Quinito Henson of the Philippine Star that he was not exactly surprised at Rigondeaux' game plan.
"Alam ko si Rigondeaux sobrang matalino, takbo-takbo, suntok. Ganoon lang. Alam ko na 'yung style niya, kaya hindi na ako ma-surprise kung ano man ang ibibigay niya sa akin," he said.
Rigondeaux, for his part, was defiant. He stood up at the ring's turnbuckle after the bout, holding up a Cuban flag, and posed even as the mostly pro-Casimero crowd at the venue showered him with boos. When grilled by Showtime's Gray about his fighting style, Rigondeaux made it clear that he has no intentions of changing the way he fights.
"That's why I'm unique, that's my style and that's the only one I know," he said.