Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Guillermo Rigondeaux's fight back on
By Dan Rafael
LAS VEGAS -- After a series of legal maneuvers and, ultimately, a settlement between junior featherweight titlist Guillermo Rigondeaux, manager Gary Hyde and promoter Top Rank, Rigondeaux's defense against Robert Marroquin has been added back onto Saturday's card at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The fight will be part of the HBO PPV card headlined by the middleweight championship fight between Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
However, there is still one more legal hurdle for the fight to overcome before it is official. While Rigondeaux, Top Rank and Hyde reached a settlement, Caribe Promotions, Rigondeaux's co-promoter, is still trying to block the fight. It is seeking an injunction and there is a hearing scheduled for Wednesday in Miami, according to Pat English, Hyde's attorney.
Caribe believes that Top Rank and others interfered with its contract with Rigondeaux.
"Hyde, Top Rank and Rigondeaux have resolved things so this fight can take place," English said. "Caribe will move Wednesday for an injunction, but we don't believe they will get it."
Top Rank initially put together the fight between Rigondeaux and Marroquin (22-1, 15 KOs), 23, of Dallas, without the approval of Hyde, who went to court in Florida and won an injunction that prevented Rigondeaux (10-0, 8 KOs) from taking part in any fight that he did not approve, including the one against Marroquin.
Rigondeaux, 31, of Miami, had his appeal denied last week, but on Monday night, Rigondeaux, Hyde and Top Rank reached a settlement and Hyde approved the fight under renegotiated terms that will increase Rigondeaux's purse from $100,000 to $150,000.
Top Rank had made alternative plans for Marroquin to instead face Alejandro Lopez (23-2, 7 KOs), but Top Rank boss Bob Arum said he was pleased to have worked things out with Rigondeaux.
"It made all the sense in the world," Arum said. "After the fight takes place, assuming Rigondeaux wins, we can sit down and talk about a new deal. But we at least worked things out for this one fight. We want to stay with the kid. That's what will be resolved after the fight."
Arum said Saturday's fight was the last one on Rigondeaux's contract with Top Rank but that he hoped he would be able to re-sign him -- even though one of the reasons Hyde did not want the fight with Marroquin was because rival promoter Golden Boy had offered a substantially more lucrative contract to Rigondeaux.
"If Rigondeaux wins and looks good, then I'm off running and I'll try and set up what I think would be the most significant fight in those lighter divisions, Rigondeaux and (unified junior featherweight titlist) Nonito Donaire, if Donaire gets by (Toshiaki) Nishioka on Oct. 13," Arum said. "That would be a major attraction."
Donaire's team, however, has not shown much interest in the bout.
Even during the legal battle, Rigondeaux continued to train, hoping there would be a resolution.
"I talked to the kid during all of this, through (adviser Luis DeCubas Sr., who translated) and told him, 'just don't worry, it will work out,' and it worked out," Arum said.
Hyde, who has had a rocky relationship with Rigondeaux, has had his contract upheld in court on multiple occasions. He was pleased to have the issues resolved.
"We have negotiated a far superior deal to fight Robert Marroquin on Sept. 15," said Hyde, who signed Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, after he defected from Cuba in 2007. "'Rigo' doesn't get involved or sidetracked by legal dramas. He has promised me that he is at his all-time best and that he will KO Marroquin."