By Ryan Maquiñana
Guillermo Rigondeaux is free from Top Rank, but he has yet to find a replacement co-promoter, according to the junior featherweight world champion’s manager.
“He had substantial offers from Roc Nation and Frank Warren, and they were two of the biggest contracts I’ve ever seen for a 122-pounder, but his co-promoters haven’t been able to agree,” Gary Hyde told BoxingScene.com.
Hyde is referring to Miami-based Caribe Promotions, who he is imploring to help him facilitate his Cuban charge’s return to the ring after the contract with Top Rank ended in July.
“With respects to [Caribe], they did put a lot into Rigondeaux to start, but it’s time to work with us now and stop being an obstacle against us,” Hyde said. “Rigondeaux, his clock is ticking away. He’s 34 years old now and he needs to get moving. He’s at this stage in his life where you never know how many fights he’s got left.”
At 14-0 with nine knockouts, Rigondeaux is at the top of his game, but has also garnered questions about his marketability in America.
Former amateur teammate Erislandy Lara’s pay-per-view fight with Canelo Alvarez reportedly did not do well at the box office, and his sublime but methodical fighting style has many wondering if the Cuban school of boxing can create the type of professional pugilist capable of becoming a crossover star.
Hyde exhibited supreme confidence in his 122-pound dynamo’s ability to break through to the masses in that regard.
“With the right promoter, a Cuban can sell anywhere, because for me, he’s the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and a lot of people will agree with that,” Hyde said. “And if you have the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter, it doesn’t matter where he comes from. He can fill Brooklyn. He can fill anywhere.”
As for striking a deal with a co-promoter, Hyde has a timetable in place for his rising -- but aging -- champion.
“Hopefully, we get something done and get him a fight before Christmas,” Hyde said. “It would be wrong if we didn’t get that to happen.”
Ryan Maquiñana is the Boxing Insider at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and the Editor-in-Chief of Norcalboxing.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @RMaq28 or email him at [email protected]