What's Next For Pugilist-Specialist Rigondeaux?

BY Michael Woods ON April 15, 2014
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He might well be the best pure pugilist on the planet. His ability to execute his gameplan, with subtle brilliance, doesn't go unnoticed by a multitude of fight fans. However, in a world which seems increasingly to punish subtlety, and reward excess, the over the top, Guillermo Rigondeaux is, while being regarded almost universally one of the top pound for pound talents, is still finding his place, clarifying his role in the fightgame milieu.

The clarification process will proceed on July 19, on a Macau card promoted by Top Rank.

I reached out to Rigo's manager, the genial Irishman Gary Hyde, who many of you may not know has a history as smuggler extraordinaire. http://espn.go.com/boxing/story/_/id/10392313/the-high-priced-underground-economy-smuggling-champion-cuban-boxers-espn-magazine

So, Gary, what poor bast...er, what lucky fella is going to try to solve the Rigo riddle?

"The opponent isn't confirmed, but Jonathan Guzman has been mentioned," he told me.

Guzman is a 24-year-old Dominican with a 16-0 (16 KOs) record built on a tasty diet of journeymen and sub journeymen, for the most part.

Hyde admitted to me he's pleased that this bout signals Rigo's last fight on a Top Rank contract. The Vegas outfit latched on as co-promoter, with Caribe, when Rigo derailed the Nonito Donaire express on April 13, 2013. That bout took place in NYC, known to many folks as a concrete jungle, where many a mugging has taken place. Rigo's mugging of Donaire was pulled off not with a brutish act of thuggery, but one that was more akin, actually, to a slick pickpocketing of a wide-eyed tourist. That mark, from, say, Iowa, was in town to take in the sites, the Lady Liberty and the Empire State Building, but was destined to take the bus ride home demoralized, having been prayed upon in a jungle of concrete and savagery borne of resignation, felt by citizens who seize upon a felonious lifestyle to make ends meet

Yep, Rigo is a different sort of predator, and his methods aren't of the sort which can be appreciated by the masses like a concussion craver, a Golovkin, a Kovolev, etc, is.

If it is Guzman, Hyde told me, that's not the desired foil for the 33-year-old Cuban defector, who boasts a 13-0 (8 KOs) record. Hyde and Rigo want XL challenges, or what passes for XL challenges in the junior feather territory. "I want to be finished with this contract, with the hope of moving on to a more lucrative deal," Hyde continued."

I'd heard Rigo, who holds the WBA crown, with Scott Quigg holding the WBA's junior version of the same, seeks a clash against Carl Frampton, the 18-0 Irishman? Correct, Mr. Hyde?

"Not at all," he replied. "I tried to get him interested but he will avoid Rigo at all costs. I like a fight against Leo Santa Cruz (27-0-1, holds WBC super bantam crown)."

(((NOTE: A few hours after this story posted, the WBC sent out this release, which seems to indicate Frampton-Santa Cruz is a near-term possibility:

WBC superbantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz wants to  defend his title against undefeated Carl Frampton and is willing to travel to Belfast for the biggest purse of his career....so far! In an interview, Santa Cruz (27-0-1, 15 KO’s) said that he would travel to Belfast if he can get a wage. “Facing Frampton in Belfast is my first option. I’ll be ready to fight him in July. I don’t care if I have to fight in Belftast. I know Frampton is a good boxer but I’m the champion and I can KO him! ” Frampton’s manager Barry McGuigan, himself an ex world champion, said: "If Santa Cruz comes to Belfast I can make him an offer he won’t refuse. I’m happy to know that Santa Cruz is willing to travel here. If this fight takes place in July it's just perfect for us. We’re negotiating with Golden Boy and we hope we can reach an agreement."))))

As for Rigo's next promotional home, is it possible Rigo finds a place at Golden Boy?

"Quite possible, Mike," Hyde said.

Here's hoping that Rigo's clarification process clears up, that his talent is recognized in a manner it should be, in a more perfect world....

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Comment on this article

brownsugar says:

I hope Santa Cruz is successful against Frampton... Not because of personal preference ... But because Cruz is the only champion with the cajones to publically say he would fight Rigor...any day of the week.

The Commish says:

I would much rather see Guillermo Rigondeaux v Leo Santa Cruz than $$$May vs Manny Pacquiao.

-Randy G.

The Shadow says:

I would much rather see Guillermo Rigondeaux v Leo Santa Cruz than $$$May vs Manny Pacquiao.

-Randy G.


I get what you're saying, Randy. While I wouldn't go that far, I would rather watch three to four Rigo fights again top competition a year than one or two of Mayweather's.

That said, NO ONE wants to fight him! I don't know what he has to do.

It's crazy, I have never seen a fighter elicit such realistic self-assessments from fighters regarding their own skill level.

Usually, a fighter will fight ANYONE.

But I hear champions -- despite the necessary life-long lies they've been told by themselves, their staff, trainers and friends -- admit that they are not ready for him.

On the record, Lomachenko and Frampton. Off the record, everyone in or around his weight class.

With all the delusions and self-lies he exposes, I guess you can, rightfully, call him the truth.

If/when he signs with Haymon, I really hope he gets some nice fights so we get a chance to see that otherworldly greatness that is just simmering beneath the surface, ready to erupt.

Leo Santa Cruz would be a nice start.

As it is right now, I believe this guy -- and maybe a drained Andre Ward at 160 with his heavyweight-like physical strength advantage negated -- is the only guy who can trouble Mayweather, who's a fight-night lightweight anyway.

Even at his size.

At the very least, if he doesn't outskill him outright, he holds his own in a sparring session with the Money Man.

Skibbz says:

I hope Santa Cruz is successful against Frampton... Not because of personal preference ... But because Cruz is the only champion with the cajones to publically say he would fight Rigo...any day of the week.


I think he may be successful if the fight is in the US which it most probably will be. Frampton's team are flying over for talks with GB so we could see it by the second half of the year.

Cruz is hungry for success and so is Frampton, although I think Frampton is wary of Rigo and will avoid him at all costs... Rigo offered to come to Belfast to fight him but it was aired...... Rigo needs to turn up at the S Cruz Frampton Final presser in a big Elephant suit holding a "DON'T IGNORE ME" sign.

brownsugar says:

I think he may be successful if the fight is in the US which it most probably will be. Frampton's team are flying over for talks with GB so we could see it by the second half of the year.

Cruz is hungry for success and so is Frampton, although I think Frampton is wary of Rigo and will avoid him at all costs... Rigo offered to come to Belfast to fight him but it was aired...... Rigo needs to turn up at the S Cruz Frampton Final presser in a big Elephant suit holding a "DON'T IGNORE ME" sign.


Appreciate the honesty Skibbz.

stormcentre says:

Hopefully no-one here really truly believes Santa Cruz would beat Rigo?

The Shadow says:

Hopefully no-one here really truly believes Santa Cruz would beat Rigo?


I don't think so. I think the intrigue lies in a guy who throws over 1000 punches per fight going for broke against the guy who makes volume punchers throw less than 10 punches a round.

stormcentre says:

I think Rigo would probably welcome that approach.

He wouldn’t have to look for openings and/or opportunities.

The Shadow says:

I think Rigo would probably welcome that approach.

He wouldn’t have to look for openings and/or opportunities.


Exactly. LSC would get blitzed.

And re: your other post, we both know because you have told me.

brownsugar says:

The intriguing thing about Santa Cruz fighting Rigor is the fact that he says he will do what many at the top level have refused to do. That alone is impressive to me. I won't dump on the kids chances... I don't want to scare off the only guy who's willing to fight. Lol...

The Shadow says:

The intriguing thing about Santa Cruz fighting Rigor is the fact that he says he will do what many at the top level have refused to do. That alone is impressive to me. I won't dump on the kids chances... I don't want to scare off the only guy who's willing to fight. Lol...


LOL exactly! Bring him on before he changes his mind!

But what happens after this fight, though? Because Rigo WILL rise to the occasion. Every manager and promoter, unless Rigo gets affiliated with Haymon, will run for the hills.

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