By Rick Reeno
BoxingScene.com reported on Monday that WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (11-0, 8KOs) parted ways with trainer Jorge Rubio and officially retained the services of Cuban coach Pedro Diaz, who also trains superstar Miguel Cotto, Olympic gold medal winner Odlanier Solis and several other fighters.
The move to change trainers has been heavily frowned upon by the boxer's manager, Gary Hyde. Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum, who promotes Rigondeaux, is also shocked by the boxer's decision to replace his training team.
Top Rank is trying to finalize an HBO televised unification against WBO champion Nonito Donaire (31-1, 20KOs) on April 13th, possibly at The Theatre in New York's Madison Square Garden. Rigondeaux would reportedly earn a career high $750,000 for the fight.
The bigger issue is Rigondeaux's insistence that Top Rank settles a pending legal dispute with Miami based Caribe Promotions.
"Top Rank sent a contract for the [Donaire] fight, which my advisers are reviewing, but I've made it clear to Top Rank that I want the legal problems between my promoter, Caribe Promotions, and Top Rank, to be resolved before the fight. I want the legal case between the two companies to be resolved," Rigondeaux said.
With the April date not being that far away, Arum tells BoxingScene that he will not waste his time with a back and forth debate with Rigondeaux on a legal case that Arum believes has no merit.
If the situation with Rigondeaux continues to escalate, then Arum will pursue a rematch between Donaire and Vic Darchinyan (38-5-1, 27KOs). Donaire put his name on the map in 2007, when he scored one-punch knockout of the heavily favored Darchinyan in five rounds. Darchinyan has hit a road of highs and lows over the years, but in 2012 he moved up to super bantamweight and won a lopsided decision over highly regarded Puerto Rican prospect Orlando Del Valle, who was unbeaten and expected by most to win by knockout.
"It's craziness. If he don't straighten out, we'll go to Darchinyan," Arum told BoxingScene.com. [Caribe] is trying to use the kid to put muscle on us to settle a lawsuit that we feel has no value. We offered him the fight. We've offered him a lot of money for the fight. If he doesn't take it, we'll move on to the next guy. He has to understand that he is very much the B-side."
While Arum would not confirm, third-party sources have advised BoxingScene that Top Rank VP Carl Moretti has been in contact with Darchinyan, a promotional free agent, and the Armenian puncher is ready and willing to accept the fight if Rigondeaux falls out.
Last August, a lawsuit was filed by Black, Srebnick, Kornspan & Stumpf on behalf of Boris Arencibia, owner of Caribe Promotions, against Rigodeaux and Top Rank. The case is pending in the Miami-Dade County courthouse in Florida. Arencibia's case is being handled by Jared Lopez, a partner in Black, Srebnick, Kornspan & Stumpf.
According to Lopez, Top Rank signed Rigondeaux in 2010 to a two-year agreement. Caribe was involved in that deal as a co-promoter and receives monetary compensation in connection to Rigondeaux's fights. Caribe is claiming the agreement between Top Rank and Rigondeaux was renewed without their involvement. Even in the prior agreement, the parties decided that Top Rank was the lead promoter of Rigondeaux.
Initially, Caribe sued Rigondeaux for breach of contract and tried to stop last September's fight against Roberto Marroquin, which took place on the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Sergio Martinez HBO pay-per-view undercard at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Caribe was unable to prevent the fight from going forward.
Rigondeaux and Caribe have since resolved their problems.