By Mike Coppinger
Irish manager Gary Hyde knows he has something special in Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Considered perhaps the greatest boxing Olympian of all-time as an owner of two gold medals, Rigondeaux already has two title defenses under his belt at just 11-0. But the 32-year-old Cuban has yet to face anyone the ilk of Nontio Donaire, who he meets next Saturday at the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York on HBO.
Hyde believes Donaire is the most formidable opponent of his fighter's career and feels it will bring out a fighter the world has yet to see.
"I think Donaire is overrated; Top Rank has done a great job in building up the Donaire name --- HBO also," said Hyde. "I think they're making a big mistake if they're looking past Rigondeaux because Rigondeaux is really hungry, he's really up for it. Rigondeaux is definitely the best Cuban fighter I've ever seen in the gym -- without a shadow of a doubt. All you have to do is open the door to the gym and he's off. There's no stopping him. He wants to run all day, he wants to run at 5 in the morning. He's doing beach work, he's doing hitting work, he's doing the sprints.
"He's been carless in past fights when he got bored in the middle rounds. The guys couldn't even hit him and then he got lazy. But what's he up again -- Donaire is an elite fighter -- he's been switched on (in training) 100 percent of the time. A switched-on Rigondeaux at the moment is the best fighter in the whole wide world. He's in destruction mode, he wants to wipe the floor with Donaire."
Hyde is supremely confident that Rigondeaux will take the win and predicts it will be explosive.
"I think Rigondeaux is going to knock him out before six rounds. He's going to hurt Donaire," Hyde said. "Because Donaire has so much pride and belief in himself, he's going to get knocked out. Usually when Rigondeaux hits somebody, they go on their bike for the night. After two rounds when Rigondeaux connects with a few killer punches, the fighter is going from pillar to post trying to see the fight through. But Donaire will come at Rigondeaux, even when he's hurt and that's going to be the end. It'll either be a punch to his liver or knocking his chin off his head."
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