Unified super bantamweight world champion Guillermo “The Jackal” Rigondeaux (15-0, 10 KOs), arguably the most avoided reigning world title holder in modern boxing history, will travel to London next month in order to publicly confront his mandatory challenger, Scott Quigg (30-0-2, 22 KOs), the World Boxing Association (WBA) “regular” 122-pound division titlist.
A month ago in an unusual move, Rigondeaux’ manager Gary Hyde formally petitioned the WBA to enforce a mandatory title fight between his WBA Super Champion and Quigg. Hyde is awaiting the WBA’s decision. Rigondeaux is also the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and The Ring magazine’s super bantamweight champion.
A reigning world champion hasn’t been avoided by other world champions and top contenders like Rigondeux has for the past two years since, perhaps, junior middleweight Sergio Martinez, or possibly all the way back to middleweight Mike McCallum.
The top three super bantamweights in the world outside of Rigondeaux – International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Council (WBC) champions, Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz, respectively, plus Quigg – have avoided the Cuban great like the plaque. Once Santa Cruz’ promoter at the time, Oscar de la Hoya, announced that a Rigondeaux-Santa Cruz had to happen, Santa Cruz’ powerful adviser, Al Haymon, exercised a contract option and bought him out to avoid a fight with ‘Rigo.’ Frampton’s promoter, Barry McGuigan, has proclaimed his fighter, not Rigondeaux, as the No. 1 super featherweight in the world. McGuigan, though, is interested in Frampton fighting Quigg in a U.K. showdown, rather than a world mega-fight for three of the four major sanctioning world titles. As the “regular” WBA champion, Quigg is Rigondeaux’ mandatory challenger, yet, he apparently wants no part of the two-time Olympic gold medalist because his promoter, Barry Hearn, not only hasn’t pushed the issue, he’s in negotiations with McGuigan for Frampton to fight Quigg.
Former world super bantamweight champions Nonito Donaire, after he lost a unification fight to Rigondeaux two years ago, and Abner Mares chose to move up one division to fight as featherweights. And now Donaire reports that his manager was contacted by a Quigg representative to discuss a Donaire-Quigg fight in England.
Another two-time Olympic gold medalist, WBO 126-pound champion Vasyl Lomachenko, continually insists that “Rigo” has to move up in weight for a fight to happen despite him having no problems making 126.
“Quigg, Santa Cruz, and Frampton have showed no desire to challenge Rigondeaux,” Hyde said. “These three fighters are trying to fool the public into believing that fight the No. 1 guy in the world is not important. While they are lining their pockets with ridiculous amounts of cash for fighting below par opponents, Rigondeaux is forced to wait around until some Asian opponent steps up. This is a sport in which we are accustomed to seeing the best fighting the best but, in the super bantamweight division, it’s the best versus the rest.
“Rigondeaux will travel to Manchester to fight Quigg, Belfast to fight Frampton, or Las Vegas to fight Santa Cruz. None of these so-called world champions, though, will consider fighting the acknowledged world super bantamweight champion. They’re all much more content to hold onto their belts than beating The Man in their weight class.”
Next month, Hyde reports, Rigondeaux will travel to the United Kingdom in a bold attempt to embarrass Quigg into fighting him. “I don’t like traveling overseas unless I have a fight lined up,” Rigondeaux explained, “but I will travel to England in May to publicly call out Scott Quigg. If he turns down the chance to fight our WBA mandatory, he will be remembered for that instead of being known as a great fighter. While I’m in the UK, I will also go to Belfast to checkout Carl Frampton to ask if he wants to prove himself against the best in his division.”
Understanding that the top super bantamweight action is currently in Europe, noting a record purse ($2.2 million USD) offered for a Frampton vs. Quigg fight, Rigondeaux is considering a major change in the not too distant future, moving his base from Miami to the UK, if that’s what it takes for him to get in on the action.