One would think that amongst a myriad of different accolades, being praised by legendary trainer Freddie Roach as being “The greatest talent he’d ever seen” in addition to being undefeated, a current (formerly unified) world champion with over six title defenses in just 15 fights (10 KO’s) as a professional.
A two-time Olympic gold medalist, seven-time Cuban national champion, along with being literally one of the greatest amateur fighters in history with an overall record of 463 wins and only 12 losses would garner heavy love & adoration from both boxing fans and bigwigs alike.
However, in the case of Guillermo Rigondeaux you’d be dead wrong, Rigondeaux, just after unifying the WBO, WBA (super), & the ring magazine bantamweight titles by soundly defeating rival and at the time, pound for pound #3 ranked world champion Nonito Donaire (after only 12 professional fights) in the biggest fight of his career.
He was lambasted by many in the boxing media most notably by ESPN’s Dan Rafael who wrote an article just after the fight entitled “Rigondeaux bores but bests Donaire”. Amazingly, this sentiment was also shared by not only the HBO network but also Rigondeaux’s own promoter Bob Arum as he was quoted just after the fight as saying
“He has a lot of power and a lot of skill, but running the way he does makes it into a not watchable fight.”.
To make matters worse, when recently asked by Boxingscene about plans for upcoming fights for Rigondeaux he responded that he doesn’t blame HBO for not wanting to televise Rigondeaux’s fights, saying Rigondeaux promised to try to knock out Joseph Agbeko in their HBO fight, but the Cuban never came through on his promise.
“But once he hit (Agbeko) a couple times, ‘That’s it. I won the fight,'” Arum said. “And nothing (expletive) happened for the next nine rounds. It’s very sad because he’s so good.”
“I have a problem,” Arum went on to add. “And you can’t really blame the network. The rating for the (James) Kirkland-(Glen) Tapia fight was almost double Rigondeaux’s rating. People walked out. If people don’t want to watch, what do you expect a network to do? I don’t care how good we say he is, which he is”.
In addition to all of this, Rigondeux much like another Gold medal winning former Olympian & current world champion Andre Ward is the most avoided man in his weight division.
The current champions in Rigondeaux’s division are Scott Quigg (WBA super champion now after the title was inexplicably stripped from Rigondeaux), Carl Frampton (IBF), Julio Ceja (WBC), and the WBO title that Rigondeaux won after beating Donaire was also stripped from him, is now vacant. Curiously enough will now go to the winner of Nonito Donaire vs. Cesar Juarez, and none of these guys have expressed even slight interest in a unification fight with Rigo.
Despite “ducking” or avoiding a fighter who is a tough matchup being a cardinal sin in boxing, no one seems to have a problem with this. There is virtually zero pressure on any of those “Champions” to face Rigondeaux.
My question is why? Why is this ok? Because in my opinion, when you easily and soundly defeat a #3 p4p ranked world champion in a fight where you came in as the underdog, then not only out land but also out throw your opponent, your star should elevate straight to the heavens! But even if it doesn’t, it should at least put you in a position where in order to call yourself a champion at 122lbs you simply have to face the guy.
What it certainly shouldn’t do is put you in a position where you get your titles stripped for unexplainable reasons and handed to guys who are enabled to refuse to fight you. Or where you have to deal with a network that won’t televise your fights because your “too boring” despite winning two of your last three fights (and 10 of your 15 total) by knockout and routinely out working and out landing your opponents.
Or a promoter who won’t give you the push nor credit you truly deserve despite your numerous historic accomplishments. Or writers who say things like your “Too good for your own good” and essentially allow fighters who should be fighting you to avoid doing so. Hopefully, things change for the better because Guillermo Rigondeux is currently #1 on my personal p4p list since Floyd is retired. Guillermo Rigondeux is definitely the man to beat at 122 and in my opinion, deserves much better from the boxing community overall! Where’s the love?