By Ben Jacobs
The normally mild-mannered Cuban trainer, Pedro Diaz, recently expressed his dismay at the actions of HBO commentator Jim Lampley subsequent to Guillermo Rigondeaux’s fight against Moises Flores on June 17. Originally, Rigondeaux was declared the winner by knockout after he floored his Mexican opponent with a left hand at the end of the first round. On review the Nevada Commission changed the result to a no decision.
Díaz, speaking to BoxingScene.com, believes that it was not Lampley’s place to be repeatedly questioning Bob Bennett, Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, as to whether Rigondeaux punched after the bell.
“It’s incredible that Jim Lampley kept insisting to the head of the Nevada commission after the fight, I don’t know if that’s in his job description. He kept asking and insisting about it, I don’t know what his role was in all this. I think he must have something against Rigondeaux,” Díaz fumed.
“It’s incredible that a boxer and his team work hard for ten to twelve weeks, put on a good fight for the fans and then after that a “commentator” wants to steal the show giving his opinions not based on reality. It doesn’t help the sport and it leaves a bad taste for the fans who truly know the sport. At the end of the day it’s the fans who pay and evaluate a fight honestly. The fans know about Rigondeaux’s great qualities both as a boxer and as a person.
“I want to say that Max Kellerman is a man who knows a lot about boxing, and appreciates Rigondeaux,” Pedro continued.
“Roy Jones Jr also has a very high opinion of ‘Rigo’ as do Andre Ward and Floyd Mayweather. I thought the way Lampley carried on was ridiculous. I give Kellerman a lot of credit, even though he is young, he knows more about boxing than Jim Lampley.”
Speaking via telephone from his home in Miami, Florida, the annoyance in Díaz’s voice was palpable. Perhaps it is the repeated comments throughout his professional career that Rigondeaux is perceived by some in the game as being a boring fighter that has contributed to his frustration, culminating in the outburst aimed at Lampley.
“I trained Rigondeaux for the Nonito Donaire fight, in which he gave him a beating. I trained him for the Joseph Agbeko fight, in which he made Agbeko look ridiculous. Where was Agbeko’s usual punch output? I trained him for the James Dickens fight, he broke his jaw in the second round, and now for this fight he won by first round knockout.
“I’ll say this, Dan Rafael is a journalist who has criticised ‘Rigo’ a lot in the past for being boring, but even he admitted that ‘Rigo’ put on a show. So, I’m not sure what Lampley has against him. I think he should take lessons from Kellerman.
“I respect HBO but I don’t know why Lampley called the commissioner over, not just once but kept insisting. I just want to know if a commentator should be doing that? They wanted a show from ‘Rigo’, well, he gave them one.”