Guillermo Rigondeaux, the Cuban-born hitter who violently opened up many eyes when he had his way with Nonito Donaire at Radio City Music Hall on April 13, and made the pound-for-pound ace Donaire look a step slow all night long, doesn't show a violent side as often as some would like.
The 33-year-old "Rigo," who headlines in Atlantic City and on HBO on Saturday night against Joseph Agbeko, drew scorn in some circles for moving too much in the Donaire fight, engaging in too much science and not enough violence against the Filipino-born hitter, who found it beyond hard to get a bead on the super-elusive lefty. In the HBO offices, some of the suits decided they'd rather not spotlight the Cuban cutie, and would rather divvy up money to guys who fight in a more "fan friendly" -- i.e. constantly combative -- manner.
Less waiting, more trading, is how you could phrase their wish list ...
Rigo's manager, Gary Hyde, told me Rigo understands the rules of the game. The people who pay you make the rules, most of the time. And if it is a more constantly combative style they want, that is what they will get, Hyde told me on Wednesday. We chatted at a press conference to hype the card, which also features a 154-pound showdown between Glen Tapia, a Top Rank fighter looking to inherit some of the love and attention that Arturo Gatti used to receive in AC, and James Kirkland, a bomber signed to 50 Cent, who's been working sporadically because of injuries and promotional issues.
"You will see an explosive Rigo," Hyde declared. "He put a beating on Donaire, and hurt him, and we expect him to bring it to Agbeko. We think Agbeko won't run, even when he gets a taste of Rigo's power. And while we don't look past Agbeko, Rigo is ready to fight anyone, up to 130 pounds. If Donaire wants a rematch, that's fine."
Agbeko spoke a great game at the presser, at BB King's. He implored Rigo to stand and trade. "Let's kill each other!" he said, noting that he expected to get hit, and deliver punishment as well. He said that fans deserve action bouts, and I dare say I think he wounded Rigo slightly by implying that the Cuban likes to run more than rumble.
Arum, who co-promotes Rigo with Caribe, and has one fight, one option left on Rigo after this one, mentioned a scrap pitting Rigo against the Ukrainian amateur stud, Vasyl Lomachenko, who meets title-holder Orlando Salido, the WBO feather champ, in his second professional bout next month.
Readers, if Rigo beats Agbeko, who lived in the Bronx but is living in Las Vegas and training with Roger Mayweather, who should he face next? Weigh in!
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