McDonnell to give Rigondeaux first loss?

Jamie McDonnell believes stepping up a division to shatter Guillermo Rigondeaux’s unbeaten record would win him long-overdue recognition.

McDonnell (28-2-1-KO13) is the current WBA world bantamweight champion and promoter Eddie Hearn recently hinted that after four successful defences, the next goal could be at 122lbs.

Rigondeaux (16-0-KO10), who was recently reinstated as the WBA Super super-bantamweight champion, is widely-recognised as one of the most skilful fighters on the planet – but McDonnell is relishing the prospect of facing the Cuban regardless.

The Doncaster fighter told Sky Sports: “I always say I want the biggest fights. Defences like the last kid I fought [Fernando Vargas], you don’t get any respect because they expect you to bowl them over.

“I want the big names because it gives you more motivation to train.

“Most people write me off anyway so I like to prove them wrong. There’s no better way than jumping in with one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet. I wouldn’t take the fight for a pay day – I genuinely believe I’m going to beat him.

“If you look at what I’ve won and you look at some of the other world champions, they’ve not won half of what I’ve won but they’re more recognised. There’s not a lot you can do about that but like I said, I’ll fight anyone. I’m out there to prove everyone wrong.

“There’s not much more I can do than keep getting in there and keep winning but if the Rigondeaux fight comes off, I’ll get the recognition then. I’m a massive underdog but that’s what I like. I like to get in there and prove people wrong and that’s the fight I want.

“I’ll fight him anywhere. It’s ideal to bring him over here but I’ve fought in America twice and done jobs on Tomoki Kameda. To leave a legacy, you need to beat top kids and Rigondeaux is the man. Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg shied away from him so what an achievement if I get in there and do a job on him. That’s really making a statement.

“I’ve got the style to beat him and I’ve got the height. I’ll still be big for a super-bantamweight. Since it was mentioned, I haven’t stopped buzzing.

“I’ve already said I’ll fight Frampton and Quigg. I don’t mind who it is as long as they’re someone who I can get motivated for and I get recognition for beating. I’ve said that all along and told Eddie to line the big fights up. He then came up with the Rigondeaux fight.

“I’ve never ever said ‘no’ to a fight and I started buzzing straight away. If it doesn’t come off, I’ll be disappointed but we’ll see what happens over the next week. I believe I’m the best at bantamweight and I want to prove I can move up and prove I’m the best at super-bantamweight.

“If I have to stay at bantamweight, then there’s the Juan Carlos Payano fight which would have to happen. There’s also the winner of Lee Haskins v Stuart Hall. I could get going for that but it’s not your super-fight kind of thing.”

McDonnell became world champion for a second time at Wembley in May 2015 when he stopped Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat in the 10th round and has since defended his crown against Javier Nicolas Chacon, Kameda (twice) and Vargas.