by David P. Greisman
Bob Arum of Top Rank has been outspoken about the repercussions of Guillermo Rigondeaux’s decision win over Nonito Donaire this past April. While the win established Rigondeaux as the champion at 122 pounds, the manner in which he boxed his way to victory didn’t bring a level of marketability befitting his accomplishments.
After an extended period in which Rigondeaux didn’t have a return date on television, he’s at last set to appear on HBO on Dec. 7 in a bout against Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko.
“I think Rigondeaux deserves to be back on television. I just hope he fights a more fan-friendly fight in his next fight,” Arum said on Oct. 18 at the weigh-in for Mike Alvarado vs. Ruslan Provodnikov.
Rigondeaux captured gold at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, turned pro in 2009, won an interim world title in his seventh fight and has been a “full” titleholder since his ninth fight. He is now 12-0 with 8 knockouts — and has spoken of not needing to alter his style to be more fan-friendly.
“I don’t think I need to change anything. I’m a champion. I’m a champion for a reason. That’s not going to change,” Rigondeaux said on an August episode of BoxingScene Radio. “I am just going to keep doing what I am doing and that has been working for me.”
Arum said he’s spoken with Rigondeaux’s team about being more entertaining with his performances.
“They promised me that it will happen,” Arum said. “In order to be desired by television, you have to have the people who are watching entertained. That’s what it’s about. It’s not like a baseball game, where if you win, you win. In boxing, you got to win and you got to entertain.”
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon . Send questions/comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org