“Casey doesn’t belong in the same ring as me,” he maintained. “But I admire his courage for wanting to fight me. I’m excited about fighting in Ireland again, where I won my first World Championship as an amateur in 2001.
“My last fight, against (Ricardo) Cordoba, was on the Pacquiao-Margarito card. Millions of people watching on pay-per-view, along with 61,000 fans in Dallas, watched me do what I had to to win the WBA title.
“I am world champion and Casey and all of the fans in attendance will see a true world champion in action March 19. If Casey thinks I’m going to Ireland to lose my world title belt, he’s making a big mistake because I’m going to win, and in sensational fashion.
“He is tailor-made for me. I watched a couple of rounds of Casey’s previous fights and concluded that he’s a bit of a one-trick pony. We are as far apart in class as in residence, make no mistake about that and when the bell rings March 19, that will be evident to all.”
“Rigo” is arguably the greatest amateur boxer of all time claiming his place alongside Olympic Legends such as fellow Cuban, Teofilio Stevenson, who won three heavyweight titles and the stylish Hungarian, Laszlo Papp, who won his three titles at middle and light middleweight.
Along with his two Olympic gold medals, he won two back-to-back world amateur titles, seven national championships and, during an incredible amateur career, won 243 of his 247 contests.
He defected from Cuba and made his pro debut on May 22, 2009, going on to win the NABA super bantamweight title in his third pro fight and, last November, he beat Ricardo Cordoba on a split decision to take the interim WBA world super bantamweight title. Cordoba held won that title four months before he came to Dublin for the memorable world title fight with Bernard Dunne.
Willie Casey has also enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame. He had just 10 professional fights behind him — three of them on the same night he won Prizefighter — before he was handed a shot at Kiko Martinez for the European super bantamweight title.
After losing his struggle with a rib injury Martinez relinquished the belt on the eve of the fight, Dubliner Paul Hyland was handed the opportunity to challenge for the vacant title, and the rest is history as Casey took the belt.
But it came as a big surprise when the Limerick southpaw accepted the offer to challenge Rigondeaux and relinquished the European belt. Martinez, the mandatory challenger, had given Casey the opportunity to challenge for the belt in the first place and was left high and dry. To say the Spaniard was disappointed would be an understatement.
Cork man Gary Hyde signed Rigondeaux to an exclusive management agreement back in 2007, and subsequently won a lengthy legal battle to secure that agreement.
He had promised that if and when Rigondeaux won a world title he would bring him to Ireland to defend it against the best super bantamweight in Europe.
“Now that is Willie Casey,” he said. “Willie is a warrior and a manager’s dream but unfortunately for Team Casey, Rigondeaux is unlike any boxer Casey has ever faced.
“Rigo is a freak of nature. His amateur pedigree is unmatched in boxing history and he has already stamped his unique talent on the professional scene by winning the WBA World Interim Title in just his eighth pro fight.”
The Guillermo-Casey title fight is promoted by Top Rank, Nowhere 2 Hyde Promotions and DolPhil Promotions.
According to Don O’Leary, who heads up DolPhil Promotions along with former two-time European bronze medallist, Philip Sutcliffe, close to 1,000 early bird tickets for the fight have been snapped up in record time and tickets will formally go on sale on Thursday with www.ticketgroup.ie priced at €50 (tiered), €70 (gallery) and €130 (ringside).