MANILA, Philippines — There’s no doubt Cuban boxer Guillermo Rigondeaux is a great fighter — in the amateur ranks.
That’s how Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr., and conditioning coach Brian Schwartz, see their next opponent in the anticipated unification bout set on April 13 at the iconic Radio City Music Hall in New York.
“I say Rigondeaux is a great fighter but I believe he still needs experience and he will prove that on April 13,” said Donaire in a presser held at the B.B. King Blues Club in NYC on Thursday (Friday Manila time).
While the pound-for-pound Filipino boxer (31-1, 20 KOs) is riding on an impressive 12-year, 30-bout winning streak, Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KOs) made a name for himself in the Olympics with two gold medals.
“I have a lot of respect for Rigo and what he’s done but this is professional boxing. Bringing gold medals is great, but this is pros,” said Schwartz, as chief trainer Robert Garcia couldn’t make it to the presser.
There were no pushing or shoving between fighters on Thursday, though, even with controversies regarding the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) testing surrounded the presser.
But Manager Gary Hyde, who started off his time at the dais recounting Rigondeaux’s achievements, was quick to assure a victory for his fighter.
“Nonito has been avoiding a confrontation with Rigondeaux and he is saying he is not on his radar. Now Nonito is on Rigondeaux’s radar and on the 13th of April, he will beat Donaire and to win his titles and to enter the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in the world,” said Hyde.
Rigondeaux, who only speaks Spanish, had a few words, “Rigondeaux: Get ready for April 13th. There are a few surprises.”
Tickets for the fight go on sale on Sunday (Manila time), and Top Rank honcho Bob Arum believes the “fans will be thrilled,” especially with the return to Radio City Music. The only other boxing fight in the venue was between Roy Jones Jr. and David Telesco in 2000.
“As somebody who was born and raised here in New York, Radio City has a special place in my thoughts and heart,” said Arum.