Who's to blame for Rigo's career stagnation?
When Guillermo Rigondeaux defected from Cuba to the United States in 2009, the two-time Olympic gold medalist was well on his way to becoming one of the best pound-for-pound boxers on the planet.
Six years later, boxing pundits recognize him as one of the sweet science’s finest, but the casual fight fan has absolutely no idea who he is.
And, according to his former manager, Gary Hyde, Rigondeaux only has himself to blame.
Since turning pro, Rigondeaux has fought only 15 times in six years. It’s a work ethic that would make Floyd Mayweather, who is one of the few fighters who could pull that sort of feat off, laugh out loud.
The Cuban has yet to prove himself as a boxing attraction. That can be attributed to his style, which is more science than sizzle, but his inactivity has been a huge problem for the 35-year-old. He was recently stripped of his WBO super bantamweight title due to inactivity – he hasn’t fought since New Year’s Eve 2014 – and he still doesn’t have a fight lined up. But that’s not because nobody wants to fight him. It’s quite the contrary.
Hyde, who managed Rigondeaux from March 2007 until this past September, spoke to RingTV about the Cuban’s career and wasted no time pointing a finger at the fighter and his team of “reptiles.”
“Rigondeaux has worked his whole career to become the best fighter in the world,” Hyde said while also stating that he was “saddened” by the news that Rigondeaux was stripped of his WBO title. “He was successful in doing this, but he has surrounded himself with people who have ruined his career. No promoter or manager would touch Rigo with a 10-foot pole because these people are too difficult to deal with and they put hurdle after hurdle in front of every opportunity offered to Rigo. This is a nightmare situation for one of the best fighters in the world.”
There have been numerous stories of negotiations with marquee fighters that have fallen apart for Rigondeaux. Back in April, Rigondeaux suggested in an interview that “change is coming,” perhaps a reference to the possibility of sitting on the sidelines until his contract with Hyde had expired. Now that the two have separated, the gloves have come off, and Hyde is explaining his side of the story.
“Rigo has to take some of the blame for destroying his own career,” he said. “He has refused many multi-million dollar opportunities I offered to him over the last couple of years. He needs to get rid of these reptiles and get fighting again because not only will he lose his world titles outside of the ring, he will also be forgotten.”
With nothing in Rigondeaux’s immediate future and the Olympic gold medalist on the wrong side of 30, it is very possible that the story of Guillermo Rigondeaux becomes more urban legend than reality.