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Rigondeaux to fight in Japan again?

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The best super bantamweight in the world is one of boxing's most avoided fighters. A highly-ranked Japanese fighter might just take up the challenge.

Guillermo Rigondeaux--One of the most avoided fighters in boxing
Guillermo Rigondeaux--One of the most avoided fighters in boxing
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The best super bantamweight in the world--and one of the consensus best pound for pound--is also one of boxing's most avoided fighters.

So much so that most of editorial space regarding the champ is taken up discussing which fights won't be made. Rigo's manager Gary Hyde has pointed at an opponent in the pipeline that could be an interesting challenge for the Cuban.

Speaking to the Boxing Asylum podcast (you can download this weeks edition here*) Hyde was happy to take questions about Rigo's future.

I asked him whether rumours of a follow-up bout in Japan (Rigo beat Hisashi Amagasa via 11th round TKO on New Years Eve in Osaka) were true.

Hyde was happy to substantiate the rumours,

Yeah, well right now Shingo Wake is the guy we were supposed to fight over there. He has said openly that he wanted to fight Rigondeaux. Now he fights on 27th February in Tokyo, and if he comes through that, they'll be reaching out to us, and then we'll be reaching out to them as well of course, and we'll make the fight there because there's nothing else for Rigondeaux right now. There's nobody else out there who'll fight him, and we have to go to Asia for it.

Wake--ranked 3rd by the WBC, 2nd by the WBA, and in the top 15 by the IBF and WBO--would be an interesting opponent for Rigondeaux. Don't be fooled by his 17-4-2 record. He's a fairly slick southpaw who knows his way around the ring. He'd force Rigo to come forward, and he has good hand and foot speed, although his defence isn't top notch and he often drops his hands down by his waist which could prove costly if the bout with the classy Cuban comes off.

I also asked him about Rigo's comments about featherweight fights being possible is a rehydration clause was in effect. I thought--considering the Cuban neither cuts nor puts on much weight after the weigh-in--that it was not the best of ideas. I also floated the idea that if he was going to return to Japan that he may be able to challenge popular WBC bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka.

Hyde supported the possibilities of a bout with Yamanaka but shot down the notion of Rigo moving up in weight,

Yeah, well Yamanaka said he might move up as well, you know, so there might be no need to go down ... We have to go with where the fights are, and if that means going down to Bantamweight, then we can do it. I mean, Rigondeaux, at one of his weigh in's, he was something like 119lbs, and I was thinking "What went wrong there!" you know? And he said "Oh I didn't eat for the last 24 hours" or something, and he was 119lbs, so he can cruise in at 118.

Now to answer the first part of your question, he won't be fighting 126, he will not fight 126, not when I'm managing him anyway, not on my watch! Because he's a small guy and even if he did fight at that weight, he would give away all his power, he'd give away all his speed, you know, he'd be giving away everything if he fought at 126, so I'll be keeping him at 122, and down to 118 if there's a fight there.

So while the Amagasa bout may have originally looked like a bout designed to keep Rigo busy, being seen by Japanese TV viewers might well lead to more opportunities for the man with the emptiest schedule in boxing.

*I must warn you the Boxing Asylum Podcast can be informal at times and it is not for the faint of heart--Expect vulgar profanities as well as excellent discussion throughout!