Former International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight titlist, Joseph Agbeko, believes Jessie Manyo Plange has a realistic chance of beating legendary fighter, Guillermo Rigondeaux, should he get a shot at the Cuban’s title.
Agbeko told the Graphic Sports that at age 40, Rigondeaux would struggle to match Plange’s ringcraft.
The Ghanaian ex-champion fought but lost a unanimous decision to Rigondeaux during his heyday in 2013 at the Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, in New Jersey.
Eight years on, a 33-year-old Plange is on course to land his maiden world championship fight, having moved to second place behind Gary Antonio Russell in the WBA ratings.
“I don’t think Rigondeaux can still have the energy he possessed years ago. It will also be difficult to take the kind of punches he used to take,” said Agbeko.
“I think this is the best time for Manyo to fight him and I believe he has what it takes to beat him. I trust him to deliver, knowing his capabilities.”
However, Agbeko disagrees with the assertion that Plange needs to move to the US to be well equipped to fight Rigondeaux.
The 43-year-old veteran said his compatriot could prepare adequately in Ghana to beat the Cuban. He advised Plange to move to the US a few weeks to the fight to acclimatise, should the bout happen.
He said relocating to the US to prepare for a fight of that calibre would give Plange’s technique and ability away to his opponent who will have the chance to monitor him.
“Most of us made mistakes when we were fighting at the highest level. I do not buy the idea of relocating to the US to prepare for a fight.
“You can adequately train here in Ghana and move to the US some weeks to the fight so you don’t give yourself out to your opponent.
“All you need is to acclimatise and you can do that within some weeks to the fight. I won’t advise Manyo to go there early,” Agbeko explained.
Plange has been a prospect throughout his boxing career. Should he land a shot at Rigondeaux’s crown, he will need to step up his training to match the rich experience of the Cuban who is aiming at a unification bout with Japan’s Naoya ‘The Monster’ Inoue.