By Keith Idec
You can sense the frustration in Guillermo Rigondeaux’s voice.
His first fight in nearly a year is a bit more than a week away, usually the time for fighters to at least mention potential future opponents. Rigondeaux is in no mood to play amateur matchmaker these days because the undefeated Cuban southpaw considers it almost pointless.
“I’m so tired of it,” Rigondeaux told BoxingScene.come. “The only way people fight me is through mandatories. I’ll fight the best anywhere, anytime. I’d like to fight three times a year, but I’m so tired of calling people out. It’s always for nothing. They don’t make it happen. There’s always an excuse.”
Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs) will make a mandatory defense of his WBA super bantamweight championship against rugged Mexican Moises Flores (25-0, 17 KOs, 1 NC) on the undercard of the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev light heavyweight championship rematch June 17 in Las Vegas. When Rigondeaux steps into the ring that night at Mandalay Bay Events Center, it’ll mark his first fight since he stopped England’s James Dickens (22-3, 7 KOs) in the second round of their July 16 fight in Cardiff, Wales.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist’s layoff was extended nearly four months because the Miguel Cotto-James Kirkland card, scheduled for February 25 in Frisco, Texas, was canceled because Kirkland reportedly suffered a broken nose while sparring.
If Rigondeaux can overcome Flores next week, Rigondeaux and his manager, Alex Bornote, are willing to move up to 126 pounds for fights against such top featherweights as Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs), Abner Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs) and Carl Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs). They’re also confident Rigondeaux still can make 118 pounds for the right bantamweight fight.
Potential opponents have ridiculed Rigondeaux for saying that he’ll fight anyone, anywhere, only to ask for purses that basically price him out of those fights. Rigondeaux and Bornote insist that isn’t true.
They also know that they don’t have much more time to waste. Rigondeaux is 36 years old and has fought just five times since his signature victory over Nonito Donaire in April 2013 in New York.
“Everyone understands he’s one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world,” Bornote said. “He never asks who he’s fighting. He’s ready to fight. And in this business, one of the biggest problems is boxers are either not ready to fight or they’re always asking, ‘Who am I fighting?’ He’s the only boxer that wants to fight whoever and wherever.
“We’ll go down or we’ll go up because we’re ready. We know that there’s better opponents at the other weights. We’re pretty open. We’re trying to make it happen. We wanna give the public what they want – Santa Cruz, Frampton. We need to go ask Frampton and Santa Cruz if they’ll fight him and let’s see what they say. Bob Arum came out the other day and said we asked for $3 million to fight [Vasyl] Lomachenko. We never said $3 million. He never gives us a shot. We never said $3 million. We’re reasonable.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.