Rigondeaux vs Agbeko preview: Guillermo Rigondeaux and the gap between talent and stardom

USA TODAY Sports

This weekend, Guillermo Rigondeaux fights live on HBO. Rigondeaux is one of the best boxers in the world, but does he have the tools to be a star? Fraser Coffeen takes a look in this Bloody Elbow Rigondeaux vs Agbeko fight preview.

Saturday December 7, Bloody Elbow presents live fight coverage of Guillermo Rigondeaux vs Joseph Agbeko. HBO Boxing After Dark Rigondeaux vs Agbeko airs live on HBO this Saturday, December 7, with a fight time of 9:45 p.m. ET / PT. Bloody Elbow will have live fight coverage, including results and discussion, right here.

In boxing, as in all combat sports, there are three primary paths to stardom:

1. Put on consistently entertaining, fan-friendly fights. (Winning these fights helps, but is not a requirement.)
2. Show a dynamic, media-friendly personality that people passionately respond to, whatever the response.
3. Possess a rare, unmatched talent.

There are exceptions, but for the most part, boxing stars bring one of these traits to the table. For those who fall into two categories, superstardom awaits: think of Floyd Mayweather with his talent and personality, but less than fan-friendly fighting style, or Manny Pacquiao with his excitement and rare talent. And if you can manage to put all three together? Well, there's a reason Muhammad Ali is still the greatest.

Guillermo Rigondeaux doesn't have a big personality. He doesn't have a particularly exciting fighting style. What he does have is talent. Rare talent. A look at his resume speaks to that talent - one of the greatest amateur careers ever capped off by two Olympic Gold medals. A flawless professional career. A win over top 10 pound for pound fighter Nonito Donaire in just his 12th pro fight - a time when most pro fighters are still fighting at local gyms. A much deserved spot in the pound for pound list. There's no denying it - Guillermo Rigondeaux is an exceptional talent.

More Rigondeaux vs. Agbeko coverage:
Bloody Elbow | Bad Left Hook

Unfortunately for Rigondeaux, of the three paths to stardom, this one is by far the hardest, particularly in the US. Virtually no boxer in the modern era has become a star in the US on talent alone. The closest is perhaps the Klitschko brothers, who became huge in Europe. But that was largely bolstered by a strong sense of nationalism, and they have never been able to translate that success across the Atlantic. MMA fans will be wise to consider Georges St. Pierre. The UFC's biggest star right now, GSP is, like Rigondeaux, a supreme talent who puts on less than thrilling fights for casual fans, while also possessing a questionably exciting personality. Yet GSP has become a superstar based on pure talent.

So can Rigondeaux also become a superstar for HBO and Top Rank? I guess it's possible, but the likely answer is no. History is against him here, as US fans have long showed an antipathy towards fighters who are all talent, no flash. We'll see the proof of this Saturday night, when Rigondeaux's fight goes head to head with Paulie Maliganggi vs. Zab Judah - a fight between two men who lack Rigondeaux's skills, but beat him in the other areas. And there's no doubt which fight will garner greater buzz Saturday.

In the end, Rigondeaux has the potential to go down in the record books as one of the greatest talents of his generation. But translating that talent into actual stardom will be a tougher road for this fighter who is perhaps more appreciated than enjoyed.

In the meantime, as a boxing fan, I appreciate the fact that I get to see him fight. On Sunday morning. Saturday night, I'll be too busy enjoying Judah vs. Malignaggi.

Join us here at Bloody Elbow for a huge night of boxing with HBO Boxing After Dark Rigondeaux vs. Agbeko results, discussion, and live fight coverage this Saturday, December 7.

RIGONDEAUX VS. AGBEKO FIGHT CARD:

Guillermo Rigondeaux (12-0; 8 KOs) vs. Joseph Agberko (29-4; 22 KOs) - Super Bantamweight (122 lbs)

Glen Tapia (20-0; 12 KOs) vs. James Kirkland (31-1; 27 KOs) - Super Welterweight (154 lbs)

Matthew Macklin (29-5; 20 KOs) vs. Lamar Russ (14-0; 7 KOs) - Middleweight (160 lbs)


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