By Rick Reeno
Gary Hyde, manager of WBO/WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (12-0, 8Kos), was very annoyed after reading some of the recently published comments regarding HBO’s position on his fighter. Rigondeaux’s promoter, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, told ESPN that HBO is very resistant to showcasing Rigondeaux on their network.
“Every time I mention him, they throw up," Arum said. "So I have to figure out who I could put him in with."
Rigondeaux is coming off his most impressive win to date; an April twelve round decision over heavily favored Nonito Donaire. Hyde indicates that HBO placed a lot of pressure on Top Rank to make the fight between Donaire and Rigondeaux – and now they are rejecting the winner, Rigondeaux, while scheduling a November date for Donaire, who lost.
“Bob needs to start being proactive and get Rigondeaux into the proper fights. We've done our job. I'm the manager and I've got him with the best promoter in the world. The trainer has made him the best fighter under 140 in the world. Now it's up to Bob to deliver the fights, whether it's HBO or Showtime or whoever it needs to be with. He needs to do his job, it's not my job to promote the fighter, and I'm sure he will [do his job],” Hyde told BoxingScene.com.
“Rigondeaux is not going to do something where his head gets taken off. He's going to do what he needs to do to beat a fighter and that changes with every [opponent]. With Donaire, there was only one way to beat him and he did it. Bob Arum says he's having trouble getting Rigondeaux on HBO, but [HBO] wanted Rigondeaux for Donaire. He was Donaire's first live opponent in a year and a half and Rigo schooled him. And then after Rigo schooled him at only 12-0, then [HBO] says they don't want him. I think HBO is making a huge mistake.”
“Donaire was supposed to be this pound-for-pound great and Rigondeaux was just a 12-0 Cuban. And they don't want him because he won. Would they have wanted him more if he got knocked out? He fought the best fight of his career and they don't want him. HBO is making a big mistake. When Mayweather was being built on HBO, in those early fights, he was fighting bums. But Rigondeaux has fought six world championship fights in twelve fights....that’s unheard of.“
“If he fought the opponents that Donaire was fed last year, there wouldn't be any boos either because Rigondeaux would have demolished every one of them. Rigondeaux is put in with undefeated fighters, hungry fighters, pound-for-pound greats. He has had some very good competition for someone who is 12-0. He's still 12-0. If [HBO] wants to see someone with blood and guts and hammering, then they could show the UFC then. But if they want to see a spectacular fight with the best technical fighter, then show Rigondeaux. Rigondeaux and Floyd Mayweather are the two best fighters in the world and they are both technically gifted.“
Rigondeaux is co-promoted by Caribe Promotions. If HBO is holding ground on shutting Rigondeaux out, then Hyde has no problem with walking across the street to Showtime. Top Rank does not have a business relationship with Showtime, and all of Top Rank’s major events are carried by HBO. Hyde says it’s quite possible, if Top Rank agrees, to have Caribe hold discussions with Showtime regarding their interest in making a fight that involves Rigondeaux.
“[Abner] Mares, [Leo] Santa Cruz and there are bunch of other options [on Showtime]. I'm sure that can be done. HBO is making a big mistake and they are going to regret the mistake,” Hyde said.