By Rick Reeno
WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (11-0, 8KOs) has exclusively informed BoxingScene.com that he 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.
Last week BoxingScene ran an article which quoted Rigondeaux's manager, Gary Hyde, who doesn't agree with his boxer's decision.
"Rigo has already left two world class trainers, Freddie Roach and Ronnie Shields, [and] as Rigo's manager I have to protect his interests and changing trainers going into the biggest fight of his career is not in his interest. Jorge Rubio and [conditioning coach] DJ Montanocordoba have transformed Rigo from the fighter that fought Cordoba in November 2010 to one of the hottest names in boxing and helped him to get to the position he is in now as the number one ranked fighter in the ring magazine rankings," Hyde stated to BoxingScene.com.
While Rigondeaux respects Hyde's opinion, he doesn't plan to change his mind about hiring Diaz. Rigondeaux will reportedly earn a career high $750,000 dollars for an HBO televised unification against WBO champion Nonito Donaire on April 13th.
There have been rumors that Rigondeaux was looking to hire Diaz because he came at a cheaper price. Rigondeaux denies that information. According to the two-time Olympic gold medal winner, he knows Diaz for many years and feels more comfortable with him in gym. He offered nothing but praise for Jorge Rubio and says there weren't problems that led to their split.
"Gary Hyde does not need to see who is training me. I'm the one who pays the trainer and therefore I'm the one who selects the trainer. I feels very comfortable with Pedro Diaz, being my longtime trainer since the amateur days and I feel great with the decision and I'm going forward with Pedro. I'm definitely, 100% going forward with Pedro Diaz. I did not have any problems with my prior trainers, it's just a decision that I feel is the best one for my career by going with the trainer that knew me since the amateurs, since the Olympics. The other trainer is a very good trainer, but this is the right decision for me with the biggest fight of my career coming up," Rigondeaux told BoxingScene.com.
Regarding the fight with Donaire, Rigondeaux told BoxingScene that he didn't sign the contract, yet. Before the fight goes forward, he wants Top Rank to settle the legal dispute with Caribe Promotions.
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, and now the boxer wants the problem between Top Rank and Caribe to get resolved.
"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.