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Guillermo Rigondeaux may be a hotter free agent than you think

Guillermo Rigondeaux's contract with Gary Hyde has ended, and he may be a hotter free agent than you would expect.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Super bantamweight world champion and top pound-for-pound contender Guillermo Rigondeaux has reportedly ended his partnership with manager Gary Hyde, and will now seek his fortunes elsewhere, with Al Haymon's name obviously part of the Cuban fighter's mix, along with star managers Frank Espinoza and Cameron Dunkin.

Rigondeaux, 34, has been all but shunned from U.S. airwaves since he handily beat Nonito Donaire in April 2013, a fight that the network demanded happen. When Donaire, considered a fan friendly fighter, was beaten by Rigondeaux's tactical approach, everything seemed to turn against him, including his then-co-promoter Bob Arum, who said HBO didn't want to feature the fighter. They did give him another main event eight months later, which to be fair was a lousy fight against Joseph Agbeko, though Agbeko was as much if not more to blame for how bad that fight was.

Either way, Rigondeaux (15-0, 10 KO) has been stuck between a rock and a hard place since then. His Top Rank deal expired in 2014, after he beat Sod Kokietgym on a Macau undercard, and he beat Hisashi Amagasa in Japan on New Year's Eve last year. He has not fought in 2015.

In an official statement released by Rigondeaux and Caribe Promotions, he said, "Not having the opportunity to fight this year has put a strain on my family, and has disappointed boxing fans everywhere. I am free of any managerial contract as of September 15th, 2015. I've been waiting in excitement for the past nine months for a fight, but have not received any fight offers from my former manager. It has been a terrible relationship over the past nine months, and now I have completed my time, and am free to pursue better opportunities."

Rigondeaux may be more attractive to Haymon and his PBC brand than one may initially suspect. With so many cards from Premier Boxing Champions spread out over so many networks and so many dates, there are a lot of slots to fill. For whatever valid complaints there have been so far about PBC's main event matchmaking, we have gotten to see some really interesting co-feature fights, like the two bouts between Jamie McDonnell and Tomoki Kameda. In Chicago next month on Spike, we'll see Kohei Kono face Koki Kameda in a co-feature fight. That's not something that would have been a TV fight in the States even a year ago, not because it's not a good enough fight, but because there weren't as many chances to make fights like that.

Rigondeaux, a legitimate world champion and respected as one of the finest fighters in the sport, could certainly find a role in PBC co-features and main events. There's simply a ton of room for Rigondeaux now that there is so much more televised boxing, and he brings credibility.

For the time being, Rigondeaux is hoping to return to the ring in November.

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