How much longer will fans care about Guillermo Rigondeaux?
By Hector Franco
Earlier this week it was reported that Guillermo Rigondeaux would no longer be facing James Dickens in the UK. According to reports, Rigondeaux was training in Russia to prepare for the bout. Rigondeaux and his team were unable to obtain a visa to get into the UK in time to face Dickens. They blamed it on a Russian holiday taking place at the time they applied for a visa. Simply put Rigondeaux and his team along with his promoter have once again failed. Some things can be taken as mistakes or mishaps that occur, as is life. At this point, the amount of times Rigondeaux and team have failed is falling onto learned behavior. Whether it was Rigondeaux and team, Caribe Promotions or RocNation, they were negligent and there’s no excuse.
A couple of weeks ago Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg participated in one of the most anticipated match-ups of the year. For nine rounds both men fought apprehensive and disappointed most viewers who were expecting a more exciting bout. Frampton ended up winning a split decision over Quigg.
Afterwards, the winner failed to mention Guillermo Rigondeaux. Frampton may have just forgotten about Rigondeaux. Afterall he just finished a twelve round bout. Frampton did bring up the name of former 122-pound champion and current featherweight champion, Leo Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz fought that same night against Kiko Martinez. Santa Cruz didn’t mention Rigondeaux as a future opponent either. It seems that a bout between Frampton and Santa Cruz will be set in motion to take place later this year.
Shortly after the WBA ordered Frampton to face Rigondeaux by July 27th or he would be stripped of his title. Showtime's recent announcement of their boxing schedule showed that a bout between Santa Cruz and Frampton has already been penciled in for the summer. This leaves Rigondeaux out of the picture once again.
Rigondeaux is a fighter that has been plagued by his own skill level as he has dominated most of his opponents. He is a fighter that fights to his level of competition and will not push himself inside the ring unless pushed by his opponent. Rigondeaux’s last performance on the Cotto-Canelo undercard was dreadful. It seemed to be a case of Rigondeaux simply not caring to perform. The bout beforehand against Hisashi Amagasa was the opposite. It was an exciting bout where Rigondeaux even tasted the canvass. Rigondeaux is not getting any younger and it seems that his opponents are waiting for him to get old before stepping in the ring with him. Rigondeaux doesn’t fight in a glamor division. He fights at 122 pounds. A division that featured the likes of Wilfredo Gomez, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Manny Pacquiao. Rigondeaux with his style may already has enough trouble attracting fans. In a division known most famously for it’s exciting fights it makes it that much harder.
This is an era where fighters are not willing to prove they are the best in their respective divisions. Without the monetary compensation or willingness to risk the fighter’s brand, fighters like Rigondeaux will continue to be unable to get fights. Rigondeaux, however, is human who has shown vulnerabilities in past fights. The complete lack of confidence of fighters like Santa Cruz and Frampton to face him or mention his name is an indication that boxing is more business than sport at this point. With just 16 fights at this point of his career, if Rigondeaux were to retire today he wouldn’t get into the Hall of Fame.
So what does Rigondeaux have to do get other top fighters to face him? He needs to get in the ring and perform as much as possible. It’s clear that staying inactive and fighting once or twice a year hasn’t done Rigondeaux any favors. The more Rigondeaux steps inside the ring and performs, the more fans will be able to see him showcase his skills as one of the best fighters on the planet. Rigondeaux and his promoters may want to look at the model K2 has developed for Gennady Golovkin in keeping him busy no matter the opponent. Although as shown this week, it seems that keeping him busy may be too much work for his promoter and team. Moving up a weight class may be another option. Staying busy is what will keep him sharp and ready for whenever a top fighter is ready to face him.
Rigondeaux at this point has to worry about fans even caring anymore. It doesn’t seem that fighters in his division want to fight him. He and his own team are so negligent that they consistently squander opportunity after opportunity. Still Rigondeaux is one of the best fighters in the world. Ultimately it is up to him to show the world before boxing fans stop caring.