UPDATE ON THE STATE OF THE “RIGOLUTION”

He is inarguably one of the five best boxers on the planet, and like another fellow, Andre Ward, sitting near the apex of pugilist mountain, I find myself wondering what GuillermoRigondeaux is up to these days.

He’s a fighter…fighters fight, right? If their health permits, and their heart is in it, they glove up, do what they do best. And that Rigo, he’s an ace.

He sports a 14-0 record, and doesn’t lose rounds, let alone fights.

But…where the heck the Cuban-born hitter, who holds the WBA and WBO 122 pound crowns?

I put the question to his manager, Gary Hyde.

What’s the latest and greatest on Rigo, Gary? Got a fight in the works?

“Nothing at this point,” Hyde told me the other day.

He explained that he’s lost Rigo’s ear a little bit, and that some tasty deals have been put on his plate, but the 34-year-old hitter hasn’t bit. Frank Warren in the UK made an offer and RocNation wanted to build around the little but talented pug, Hyde informed me. He told me that Roc offered his kid $1.8 million for three fights in 12 months. Didn’t bite…

Frank Warren wanted to pay $1.8 for three bouts in year one of a contract, plus three bouts at $700,000 per in the second year of a deal. Again, no OK from Rigo. Plus, Rigo would have netted more if he fought 19-0 Irishman Carl Frampton, and the gate would have reflected some 60,000 butts in seats, quite possibly. It leaves Hyde chagrined, he admitted. He’s tried, he said, to convince the Cuban that these deals aren’t chicken feed…but the boxer still isn’t coming to the table.

Rigo, who jetted from Cuba in 2009, listens to a man named Alex Bornote, Hyde told me. The manager says that Bornote asked Hyde if Rigo’s deal with Hyde could be bought out, and the Irish helmet said thanks, but no thanks. He’s invested considerable time and money in the hitter, and isn’t inclined to jet at this time. They are at an impasse, Hyde tells me, with the manager-boxer deal on hold, in his view, because Rigo has declined two promotional contract offers.

Rigo has been promoted by an outfit called Caribe, and Caribe and Top Rank worked together, until Rigo’s last fight. Hyde’s patience with the Caribe crew has run thin, it seems, and he said he believes that the deal with Rigo and Caribe has run out.

“When Top Rank’s contract ran out (after a July bout, the third of a three-fight agreement), so did theirs,” he said.

I reached out to Bornote, and haven’t yet heard back from him. Apparently, he runs a bail band business, according to his voice mail. I also dialed Caribe, and requested a phone back, to get their side. On Wednesday late morning, I spoke to Louis Fonseca, VP of Caribe.

I told him that Hyde said he believes the Rigo-Caribe contract has run out. “That’s news to me,” Fonseca said. “Rigo is signed to Caribe, one hundred percent. It is a valid contract, he has a few years left.”

Fonseca said that in fact the offer from Warren “was not presented to us” and “is news to us.” He said that Rigo not gloving up has everything to do with fighters like Scott Quigg (a 29-0-2 Brit), Frampton and Santa Cruz (a 28-0-1 Mexican living in Cali) avoiding him, because he is a defensive master, and “they know they won’t beat him. That’s the issue.”

As for the Roc offer, Fonseca said he was made aware of it, but he didn’t think the financials were as enticing as some make them out to be. “We had conversations (with Roc). But I don’t want to get into the details,” he told me. “At the end of the day, all the parties need to be on the same page. It’s not a one way street. We are about being a team at Caribe. From day one, we’ve been investing in Rigo as a pro. We’ve supported him through good and bad. People are free to say what they want, say there is not a contract, they can say what theory they want. But Rigo has many years left to have a great career, and we are pushing to get him better fights.”

He noted that some Cuban fighters don’t get the respect they deserve, because of their styles, but said that Rigo’s talent is A plus grade, and noted how Nonito Donaire hasn’t been the same since Rigo bested him on 4-13-2013.

Caribe has some options on the table for Rigo now, Fonseca said, and he didn’t rule out Rigo fighting before the year ends. “We’re working hard to try and make things happen. But we want to work in harmony,” he said.

Hmm, harmony, that’s sometimes in short supply in this red light district of sports…Hyde has been busy trying to decipher Rigo’s actions, he told me, and sent a letter to the fighter trying to make clear that he has rights as a manager, that the fighter can’t unilaterally enter into a new promotional deal, would he be so inclined, without consulting and getting the OK from the manager who has invested heavily in his career. Hyde told me he thinks he did right by Rigo, working to get him a bigger chunk of cash from Top Rank than was originally offered. The Cuban’s purse to fight Nonito Donaire was $750,000, $475,000 for Joseph Agbeko and he grossed a cool $575,000 to fight a B boxer, Sod Kokietgym, in Macau, on 7-19-2014. Hyde has run up Rigo-related legal bills to the tune of $300,000, he alleges, so yes, he’d like to be in a position to recoup.

As of now, it looks like, Hyde is in a holding pattern, a most frustrating one, while his boxer, a most talented technician, is being most active shadow-boxing at the negotiating table. To my eye, this is another example of a guy handing over too much of his athletic prime to inactivity…but we shall have to see how this plays out…I will update this piece as is warranted.

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COMMENTS

-brownsugar :

Seems like a lot of unconnected dots and loose ends. EM almost to had become an Arbiter or emissary of sorts between conflicted factions just to get an approximation of the facts. Hyde and Caribe are telling the same stories they had a year ago. Its a little scary that Rigo and Hyde are still virtual strangers and there hasn't been any full disclosure of the legal parameters between all parties involved. Sounds like Rigo has signed a few contracts too many. And nobody wants to work as a team. I sure hope Rigo hasn't become too complacent with his upgraded standard of living in the meantime.


-The Commish :

Check out the latest TSS PxP Ratings. You--yes, YOU--have put Rigo at #3 in the PxP best-around ratings. It's hard to disagree. Especially when he's in the ring, doing his thing. I have seen some on here say he's "boring." Really! Just because a guy is hard to land leather on doesn't make him boring. Excuse me, but Richar Abril, holder of one of boxing's lightweight belts, is boring. He's a runner. The bell rings and the fight becomes the "Richar Abril Invitational Track Meet." Thanks, but no thanks. Guillermo Rigondeaux is your consummate boxer/puncher. He is ultra-fast and has the moves of a jack rabbit. When you reach for him he's gone. Watch his counter-punching, though. He dazzled Nonito Donaire with his near-unstoppable counter right jabs. Run? He doesn't run. He can slug it out and HAS slugged it out. But why should he when he can box so magnificently? Rigo's toughest fight is not in a ring. I believe he would hand guys like Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg their first loss. No, his toughest outings are not inside the ring. They're outside. He only has two ears, but has way too many mouths attached to those ears. It's not as if he believes every one of them. He just believes the one attached to his ear at that moment. Same thing, I know, but different. He doesn't know who to trust. I guess when you come from the Communist upbringing of Cuba to the shores of freedom, it's so overwhelming you just know where to turn. Guillermo Rigondeaux knows how to do one thing, and how to do that one thing better than anybody else. That's box. But the clock is ticking. He's not getting any younger. He's got a managerial contract with Gary Hyde and an apparent promotional deal with Caribe (although Hyde says it is over with). Sounds to me like all parties are headed to arbitration. This will only slow Rigo's career, maybe even derail it. It's a shame. It's a shame for Rigo and it's a shame for fight fans. That's two of the world's best fighters--count Andre Ward as the other--who are thinking about boxing and talking about boxing but not doing much more than that. The only place they are throwing punches is in the gym. In there, they aren't earning money. And in there, we can't enjoy them. -Randy G.


-brownsugar :

Check out the latest TSS PxP Ratings. You--yes, YOU--have put Rigo at #3 in the PxP best-around ratings. It's hard to disagree. Especially when he's in the ring, doing his thing. I have seen some on here say he's "boring." Really! Just because a guy is hard to land leather on doesn't make him boring. Excuse me, but Richar Abril, holder of one of boxing's lightweight belts, is boring. He's a runner. The bell rings and the fight becomes the "Richar Abril Invitational Track Meet." Thanks, but no thanks. Guillermo Rigondeaux is your consummate boxer/puncher. He is ultra-fast and has the moves of a jack rabbit. When you reach for him he's gone. Watch his counter-punching, though. He dazzled Nonito Donaire with his near-unstoppable counter right jabs. Run? He doesn't run. He can slug it out and HAS slugged it out. But why should he when he can box so magnificently? Rigo's toughest fight is not in a ring. I believe he would hand guys like Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg their first loss. No, his toughest outings are not inside the ring. They're outside. He only has two ears, but has way too many mouths attached to those ears. It's not as if he believes every one of them. He just believes the one attached to his ear at that moment. Same thing, I know, but different. He doesn't know who to trust. I guess when you come from the Communist upbringing of Cuba to the shores of freedom, it's so overwhelming you just know where to turn. Guillermo Rigondeaux knows how to do one thing, and how to do that one thing better than anybody else. That's box. But the clock is ticking. He's not getting any younger. He's got a managerial contract with Gary Hyde and an apparent promotional deal with Caribe (although Hyde says it is over with). Sounds to me like all parties are headed to arbitration. This will only slow Rigo's career, maybe even derail it. It's a shame. It's a shame for Rigo and it's a shame for fight fans. That's two of the world's best fighters--count Andre Ward as the other--who are thinking about boxing and talking about boxing but not doing much more than that. The only place they are throwing punches is in the gym. In there, they aren't earning money. And in there, we can't enjoy them. -Randy G.
Absolutely Commish.... I stand by the # 3 position with the entirety of my list making resolve....Its not his boxing prowess that has me concerned... .its just the fact that there is no rhyme or reason to his management process. The manager and co-manager don't seem know the exact nature of Rigo's legal obligations. Present circumstances between Rigo and Hyde makes the business relationship between the two sound contentious and hostile. Also Hyde has to write letters to Rigo....How estranged is that? Do they even have a semblance of a working relationship? It looks like Rigo has already chosen which master he will serve. Only the other guy hasn't received the memo.