Rigondeaux might not be back on HBO
By Chris Williams: The low ratings that resulted from WBA/WBO super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux’s one-sided 12 round unanimous decision victory over an over-matched, ring-rusty Joseph Agbeko (29-5, 22 KO’s) earlier this month has HBO President of Sports Ken Hershman carefully weighing whether to continue to have Rigondeaux’s fights shown on his network.
From what Hershman is saying, it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing Rigondeaux in any head-lining fights on HBO in the near future. He could still be on the network as an undercard fight, but it doesn’t look he’ll be a fighting as head-liner.
That’s too bad because in looking at some of the dreadful mismatches that wind up HBO, like Brandon Rios vs. Manny Pacquiao and Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley, it would seem like Rigondeaux’s mismatches fit in nicely with what HBO has been agreeing to put on. They could have said no to Pacquiao-Rios and Pacquiao-Mosley, but they said yes to it and fans got to see horribly one-sided fights.
“I’m very torn, I have to say. I was expecting more from him,” Hershman said to ESPN. “This is one where you listen to the fans. The fans voted by turning off the channel. At the end of the day we’re a TV network, and we have to please our subscribers. If they’re not interested, we have to respect that.”
So it doesn’t look good for Rigondeaux. His fight with Agbeko did poor ratings compared to James Kirkland vs. Glen Tapia on the same card.
I blame the poor ratings for the Rigondeaux vs. Agbeko fight on the decision to match Rigondeaux against a rusty, and arguably past his best fighter in Agbeko. Top Rank really shouldn’t have made this fight in the first place, because Agbeko, as good as he once was, hadn’t fought in the past 9 months going into the Rigondeaux fight, and he’d lost 3 out of his last 5 fights. Come on, why did Arum select Agbeko for Rigondeaux when he clearly was not at the top of his game and coming off of a long layoff.
Rigondeaux was put in a no-win situation by matching him against Agbeko. You’ve got to do better than that if you’re his promoter and you have him fighting in the main event. You already know that Rigondeaux just clowned one of your best fighters in Nonito Donaire, so why would you put him in with a fighter that is arguably far worse than him? It was a fight that was asking for trouble for Rigondeaux the moment that it was put together. He should have said no to the fight, but then again if he did that then he probably would have been sitting forever for a fight. HBO should have seen the match-up and realized that Rigondeaux was going to make Agbeko look like he had two left feet, and they should have said ‘No’ to Top Rank and asked for a better opponent for Rigondeaux to fight.
If you want a good fight where Rigondeaux shines, you can’t go looking for rusty fighters with 3 losses in their last 5 fights like Agbeko and expect to see brilliance. I feel sorry for Rigondeaux because he was put into this situation by having such a weak opponent for him to fight. I’m sure Agbeko was a good fighter 5 years ago, but that was a long, long time ago, and a lot has changed since them.
Top Rank needs to do a much better job of match-making for Rigondeaux. If they don’t want to put him back in with Donaire due to the pontential of Rigondeaux clowning him again, then at least match him against the likes of Mikey Garcia, Vasyl Lomachenko and Orlando Salido. I have a feeling that they won’t let Rigondeaux fight any of those guys because he’d likely make them look just as bad as he did Donaire, and then boxing public would see them as being exposed.