With the WBA threatening to do the same, the WBO have stripped Guillermo Rigondeaux of one of his two world titles due to inactivity.
The unbeaten Cuban star [15(10)-0], formerly managed by Gary Hyde, had not defended his belts against a WBO-ranked challenger since unifying his titles in April 2013 against Filipino Nonito Donaire.
The decision was made at the WBO’s annual convention, with the organisation’s Championship Committee recommending the move before the Executive Committee ratifying the removal of ‘El Chacal’s’ title.
In a statement the WBO acknowledged the difficulties Rigondeaux has in securing fights but were unsympathetic:
“This committee shares Team Rigondeaux’s opinion that he is a fighter of utmost skill and pedigree, a gifted athlete that is not only perhaps the greatest amateur boxer ever, but also one of the top pound-for-pound professionals in the world, and we also recognize that Mr. Rigondeaux’s talent, record of accomplishment and complicated style, invariably pose difficulties securing premium fights on the top-tier stage. But that it is the boxing promoter’s paramount responsibility — not ours or that of any sanctioning organization for that matter — to secure, organize, and produce such fights.”
The WBO’s #1 and #2 ranked fighters will now be ordered to box for this title. These boxers, respectively, are WBO International champ Cesar Juarez [17(13)-3(0)] of Mexico and former four-weight champ Donaire [35(23)-3(1)].
Conveniently, the pair had already agreed to fight on December 11th live on TruTV on a Top Rank card at a venue to be determined for Juarez’s trinket. This fight will now be for the full WBO title.
If, as expected, Donaire is victorious in December, a unification with Belfast’s IBF champ Carl Frampton seems unlikely. ‘The Jackal’ is advised by Al Haymon who notably refuses to work with Donaire’s promoters, Top Rank.