One of the greatest ever to lace a pair of gloves all but ruined his legacy on Saturday night according to the Irish man who got him out of Cuba and managed him to World title success.
Cork man Gary Hyde, who brought possibly the greatest amateur of all time to the pro ranks, suggests Guillermo Rigondeaux, a fighter that won a World title as a pro and had two Olympic gold medals draped around his neck will be remembered as a fighter who gave up.
‘Rigo’, who has strong connections with Ireland via Hyde and the fact he won World amateur gold in Belfast and fought Willie Casey in City West as a pro, quit on his stool after six rounds of the eagerly anticipated clash with Vasyl Lomachenko in New York on Saturday.
The Cuban elected not to fight on in a clash that was billed as the battle of the greatest amateurs of all time.
Hyde is adamant Rigondeaux has heart, but claims pulling out of a boxing chess match is all but inexcusable.
Indeed, the Cork based promoter and manager fears that image of the Cuban sitting on his stool between rounds rather than the great feats he achieved will be the first thing fight fans will think of when the Cuban stylist’s name is mentioned in years to come.
“Rigo has a big heart but he surrendered on Saturday night,” Hyde told Irish-boxing.com.
“Now he will always be remembered for what happened on Saturday instead of the amazing achievements he has had in boxing as an amateur and pro. He wasn’t hurt and wasn’t beat up so there are obvious mental issues there.”
Saturday provided a fighter who is revered and respected by die hard purists to finally show the casual what a talent he was- and while he failed to do so Hyde does point to some mitigating circumstances.
In fact the Cork man, whose son Tommy is a budding Irish amateur, wouldn’t have allowed Rigondeaux to take the fight at the weight if he was still his manager.
Hyde echos some peoples disappointment that boxing all but forced El Chacal to take his legacy scrap well above his natural weight and when he had reached the age of 37.
Hyde claims Rigondeaux and Lomachenko should be revered as equals, but hints the fact the Ukrainian super talent has been looked after brilliantly by Top Rank means history will remember both differently.
“Personally I would never have allowed Rigo take this fight at 130lb. Rigo is a very small guy and sometimes weighs 119lb. I would have loved to pitch Rigo against Lomachenko three years ago at a lower weight of 126 and when Rigo wasn’t so old. 37 is really old, more so in the lighter weights,” Hyde continued.
“In my opinion Rigo is every bit as good as Loma. Actually I believe they are equal in terms of talent but Rigo is two weight categories lighter and nine years older.”
There has been a feeling the Cuban hasn’t got the rub of the promotional green over the years and has to watch on from the sidelines as others reached pound for pound status.
Hyde feels that constant hurt and disappointment may have played a part as he all but retired on his stool, but the Cuban’s former manager also had some harsh words for his former charges corner.
Hyde claims Pedro Diaz should have motivated the little genius between rounds and warned him against giving up, something he feels the same trainer should have done a number of weeks ago with another former Hyde managed fighter Hassan N’Dam.
“Rigo got $400k for the fight which is by any standards a complete rip off. Maybe he was just sick of boxing and getting the wrong end of the stick. So sick that he just said ‘to hell with it'” Hyde continued before criticising Diaz.
“His coach needs to stand up and be counted here too. If Rigo returned to his corner and said to the coach that he wants out then his coach Pedro Diaz should have whispered in his ear the seriousness of this move but he didn’t.
“It’s is not the first time Diaz had to deal with a fighter quitting on his stool. Last month his middleweight world champion Hassan N’Dam done the very same thing when the going got tough in Japan against Murata
“Diaz surely should have learned from this and should have advised if not demanded that Rigo fights on. This is for the greatest prize in boxing and to become the number 1 pound for pound fighter in the world.”
Hyde was obviously hurting for a man he had a close bond with and that hurt is magnified by the fact he feels the Cuban had all the attributes to be remembered as an all time great.
“It’s frustrating that Rigo did not get the same treatment as Loma but he did get ample opportunities to shine and to light up the ring only to disappoint. The sad thing about it is that Rigo can be every bit an entertainer as loma but he just decides to make it an easy fight.”