It's not often that the best fighter in a weight class, holding two sanctioning body titles and recognized as the real world champion, has to try to bargain to get a significant fight, but that's the situation that Guillermo Rigondeaux is in at the moment.
To his team's credit, though, they're offering to take a risk and go to Belfast to face Carl Frampton, who won a WBC eliminator yesterday for the fight to face Leo Santa Cruz later this year. Manager Gary Hyde posted on Twitter after the fight:
Rigo won his first world title in Belfast in 2001 and he would love to defend his His back there. You have to beat the best to be the best— Gary Hyde (@nowhere2hyde) April 4, 2014
Rigondeaux (13-0, 8 KO) had an unfortunately messy 2013, given that he knocked off pound-for-pound contender Nonito Donaire in April, only to have his own promoter Bob Arum go to the press with comments about how boring Rigondeaux is, making the statement that when he asks HBO about future Rigondeaux fights, they would vomit. HBO never made any public comments on that situation, but did bring Rigondeaux back in December, and the results were, frankly, a bit vomit-inducing.
Matched with former bantamweight titlist Joseph Agbeko, Rigondeaux cruised to an easy and extremely dull decision win, which saw fight fans in Atlantic City walk out before that bout, the night's main event, had even finished.
For the average boxing fan, Rigondeaux is boring, but he's also not going to change his style just to suit promoters or TV networks. That said, a fight against Frampton in Belfast would actually be ideal for Rigo at this point. However, Leo Santa Cruz has been Frampton's target, that's the title that Frampton and promoter Frank Warren have targeted specifically, and Santa Cruz has also said he's willing to take the fight to Belfast if that's where it makes the most sense.
It's kind of sad that Rigondeaux's team has to almost beg for a relevant fight, and I really am not saying that with any intention of "slamming" Rigondeaux or Gary Hyde. They're trying to find a good fight, and this is about the only avenue they seem to have at the moment. Rigondeaux deserves better, but money makes the world go 'round, and Guillermo just doesn't have that sort of appeal.