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Rigondeaux, Santa Cruz call each other out

Junior featherweight Guillermo Rigondeaux wants nothing more than a crack at Leo Santa Cruz. Chris Farina/Top Rank

Unified junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux was ordered to begin negotiations with mandatory challenger Chris Avalos on Friday.

The sides have 30 days to make a deal, otherwise a purse bid will be ordered. Either camp can also decline to negotiate and ask for an immediate purse bid. The minimum offer is $100,000.

Rigondeaux (14-0, 9 KOs), a two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist, is coming off a first-round knockout of Sod Kokietgym in Macau on July 19 in his fifth title defense, which was embarrassingly relegated to UniMas’ weekly boxing show because HBO, which aired fights from the card on HBO2, declined to show Rigondeaux because of how boring his fights usually are.

The fight was the last on Rigondeaux’s promotional contract with Top Rank, although his deal with co-promoter Caribe Promotions is ongoing. Top Rank has said it has no intention of re-signing Rigondeaux to a contract with the same high-minimum purses as the one he just completed. But Avalos (24-2, 18 KOs) is with Top Rank, so Rigondeaux possibly could do another fight with the company, although it's unlikely that HBO would pick it up.

But rather than face Avalos, Rigondeaux would prefer a higher-profile unification fight with Leo Santa Cruz, the brawler who throws 100-plus punches a round and has been a staple on Showtime.

“I'm Super Champion WBA/WBO/The Ring 122lb and challenge u @leosantacruz2 to see who's the King,” Rigondeaux tweeted a few days ago.

That tweet may have been in response to Santa Cruz (27-0-1, 15 KOs), who a few days earlier tweeted at Rigondeaux about his interest in a unification fight.

“We train 100 percent in the gym to give the fans great fights,” Santa Cruz tweeted. “We are ready to fight @RigoElChacal305 any time any place. We aren’t afraid to fight anybody. I love all my fans. Thank you for the support.”