By Ben Jacobs
Gary Hyde is almost weary when discussing the reasons why his main man Guillermo Rigondeaux can’t secure a fight with one of the other champions in the super bantamweight division. The Irishman has been Rigo’s manager for his entire professional career which has seen the Cuban become a world champion in only his ninth contest, as well as a comprehensive victory over Nonito Donaire. BoxingScene caught up with Hyde to discuss matters at 122lbs as well as what could be next for Rigondeaux.
Gary, who do you think will win the rematch between Carl Frampton and Kiko Martínez?
I see Frampton coming out on top, I see him winning but I don’t think he’ll knock Kiko out. Kiko is a world champion now and a different animal than when they fought last time. He’s made a few good defences now so I think it’ll be much more competitive than it was last time. I see Frampton winning, with the crowd behind him in Belfast I just can’t see Kiko coming away with the title.
Kiko has paid his dues, as a world champion he’s been on the road, a bit like Rigondeaux. He’s a world champion, one of the toughest ones out there and he has to go on the road, Japan, Ireland and now back to Belfast where he got knocked out. It’s a pity he can’t stay and defend his titles in Spain. I was at his last fight in Alicante and Frampton and Quigg were there. But obviously [Barry] McGuigan paid the biggest check to get him to go to Belfast.
How do you feel about some fighters saying they’re not quite ready for Rigondeaux yet?
These world champions say they’re not ready for Rigondeaux. How can they really call themselves world champion? The promoters just say that he doesn’t make commercial sense, but that’s because their fighters can’t beat him. Do you think if Carl Froch could beat Andre Ward would Eddie Hearn give a toss how many people would be there? You have to beat the best to be the best and now they’re even avoiding talk of Rigondeaux. They’re saying they’ll get [Leo] Santa Cruz because he’s the best in the division. It’s rubbish to be honest. I’m worn out now from arguing my point. I’d bring Rigondeaux to Bury or Manchester, whatever, but Eddie said it doesn’t make sense. I genuinely think the only British fighter who would challenge Rigondeaux is Kid Galahad. He’s the only one who would take a chance knowing even if he does lose, he still fought the best in the world and had the balls to lose. But the rest of them, I mean Frampton has no interest in him. Barry McGuigan doesn’t even talk to me anymore because of Rigondeaux. We didn’t have a fall out, but he ignores me now because of Rigondeaux. We could have landed Rigondeaux in Belfast to fight Frampton, and what would happen if he lost? He’d still be one of the best fighters in the world who had the balls to take on the best.
What’s your take on Rigondeaux switching trainers again from Pedro Díaz to Jorge Rubio?
I’m fine with him, he’s a fantastic coach as is Pedro Díaz. Rigo is what he is, he gets a coach and if he likes him he stays with him but after two fights he moves on. If you look at Rigo against Donaire, he’s sitting in the corner and whatever is said goes in one ear and out the other. He just needs someone to get him fit, get him on the pads. When he’s fighting he doesn’t need advice because he’s on a different level to most fighters, he’s in the flow. He can see stuff happen before it happens. I support whatever coach he works with. I don’t want to say it’s a good move because that would be knocking Pedro Díaz but it’s not a bad move. But I fully support it and I support Pedro Díaz as well as he’s a great coach.
Have you had talks yet regarding Rigondeaux’s next promotional deal?
July will be an exciting time, there’s a lot of promise there. We’re not one bit worried, we’d have relished the thought of bringing him to the UK or Ireland, of course you want to show off your prize, as we did against [Willie] Casey. We’d like him to fight Frampton or Quigg but it won’t happen, they’ve chosen other routes. But we’re going to get him a new contract and then it’s put out of my hands. His Top Rank contract ends on July 19, he’ll be free probably for a week, then we’ll make a decision on who we go with.
How soon do you hope to get a title shot for Hassan N’dam N’jikam?
We hope to make the fight against Sam Soliman. Hassan is number nine with the IBF, but we’ll go to Soliman’s backyard to fight him. Martin Murray will probably fight [Gennady] Golovkin in the autumn but we’d love the fight with Soliman.