WBO bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero 30-4-1 (21) insists WBC boss Nonito Donaire 41-6 (27) withdrew from their scheduled fight out of fear.
The Filipino Flash was scheduled to face Casimero at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California on August 14 before withdrawing due to concerns about drug testing protocols and what he deemed a lack of respect.
Two-division world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux 20-1 (13) – who was originally slated to face Casimero – has stepped back into the frame.
“Nonito Donaire didn’t want to fight me but that’s okay,” Filipino Casimero, 32, said. “Donaire is easy for me. Now, I have Rigondeaux and I know he’s very experienced. He’s a two-division world champion and a two-time Olympic gold medalist. This will be a great fight.
“Rigondeaux has a much different style from Donaire. I’m actually much more excited to fight Rigondeaux because Donaire is scared of me. I don’t think Rigondeaux is scared. If he’s not scared, he better fight me and not run.
“I want this to be a fight. The fans want this to be a fight. I hope Rigondeaux doesn’t run. If he does, this will be a boring fight. His old fights are no good. All he does is run, run, run. I want the Rigondeaux that doesn’t run, the one that boxes and fights.
“I believe that my work rate will overwhelm Rigondeaux. We put together a nice strategy with my trainer for Rigondeaux. We’ve watched a lot of tape on him. We just hope that the Rigondeaux that fought Nonito Donaire on a bicycle doesn’t show up. We want to see the one we’ve seen recently that comes to fight.
“I want to excite the people at the Dignity Health Sports Park. It’s a very special place to me because that’s where I won the WBO title. It will be another great fight if Rigondeaux comes to fight.
“When I beat Rigondeaux on August 14, he’s going to retire. He’s finished. Finito!”
Cuban southpaw Rigondeaux, 40, brings a wealth of experience to the ring. His only professional loss was to pound-for-pound level fight Vasiliy Lomachenko at featherweight four years ago.
“We don’t underestimate anybody. I know that he’s a great fighter, a two-division champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist,” Casimero said.
“I want to do my best. I prepare very well for every fight. I just hope Rigondeaux leaves his bicycle at home and brings his boxing shoes and comes to fight. I know he’s preparing for this fight with hard work too.
“The change in opponent doesn’t bother me at all. It went back-and-forth between Rigondeaux and Donaire. I don’t care who they put in the ring in front of me. I’m ready and prepared for Rigondeaux.
“Rigondeaux thinks that Donaire is a better fighter than me, so I’m going to change his opinion on August 14.
“I need to win this fight so that I can keep moving along and get the next two big fights against Donaire and Naoya Inoue. But maybe those two are scared of me and don’t want to fight me.
“Manny Pacquiao is my idol. He’s a big inspiration. Being together and being able to train and run alongside him and watch what he does is inspiring. Everything about him is amazing. His power, what he does inside the ring and what he does outside of boxing as a senator and what he does to help people are all inspiring and impressive.
“I’m very excited to be fighting back at the place where I won my world title. I have great memories there. There’s nothing better than going back to where you won your title.
“I think Rigondeaux has realized at this age he needs to engage a little more. I think this building brings out great fights. There’s something about the venue, so I think that Rigondeaux will stand and fight me and give the fans at the ‘War Grounds’ what they want to see.”