Cuban star Guillermo Rigondeaux could shift his focus towards South Africa’s Jeffrey Mathebula and Takalani Ndlovu soon.
Rigondeaux makes the first defence of his WBA super-bantamweight belt in Las Vegas on Saturday night when he faces Teon Kennedy on the undercard of the tournament in which Manny Pacquiao fights Timothy Bradley.
The Cuban has battled to find opponents. "Thanks to Teon Kennedy for being here, because everybody else has been backing away," he said at the final media conference on Thursday.
"Everybody else" could include Pacquiao's fellow Filipino Nonito Donaire, the WBO super-bantamweight champion, Japan's Toshiaki Nishioka, who holds the WBC title, and IBF champion Jeffrey Mathebula, not to mention Abner Mares or former IBF champion Ndlovu.
Donaire and Mathebula are scheduled to fight in a unification bout in Los Angeles on July 7.
Meanwhile, Rigondeaux will continue to try to build his professional resume. He was a late arrival to the professional ranks after an amateur career that included two Olympic gold medals.
He was relatively restrained in his press conference remarks, but told Elnuevoherald.com in no uncertain terms that he believes the division's top fighters are dodging him.
"All other so-called champions of the division have hidden," he said. "My promotional team has tried to reach them, but do not receive responses. They are cowards."
Rigondeaux, 31 and widely acknowledged as a tremendous talent, has been a professional for just three years. He is undefeated after nine fights. Seven ended in knockouts.
He won the WBA belt with a sixth-round knockout of Rico Ramos on January 20, dropping Ramos with a left in the first round and driving the champion into a defensive shell that displeased fans.
Kennedy (17-1-2; 7) is a more active fighter who throws numerous punches and could be vulnerable to a hard counter shot.
Also on the undercard, unbeaten Mike Jones will take on fellow American Randall Bailey for the vacant IBF welterweight crown.
Jones brings a record of 26-0, with 19 knockouts, to the fight. Bailey boasts a record of 41-7 with 36 knockouts.
It will be the first world title fight for Jones, who at 29 is eight years younger than Bailey.
Five-time world champion Jorge Arce will take on Puerto Rico's Jesus Rojas in a 10-round non-title bout at the super-bantamweight limit.
Arce, who has a record of 60-6-2 with 46 knockouts, won three fights last year, including stopping Wilfredo Vazquez in Las Vegas.
The WBO bantamweight champion has voiced an interest in taking on Donaire or Mares, or both, but also wants to fight for a featherweight title.
"Before we go to the second step, we have the first step, and I know Jesus is coming in ready to fight," Arce said.
The Mexican veteran also knows the value of fighting on the pay-per-view card headlined by Pacquiao.
"I'm very motivated," he said. "I know Manny Pacquiao will be watched around the world, and if he's watched around the world I will be, too." Tags: Guillermo Rigondeaux