A Cuban Boxer's Journey: Guillermo Rigondeaux, from Castro's Traitor to American Champion (Kindle Single)

By Brin-Jonathan Butler


"What is 1000000 cash in comparison to the affection of 8 million Cubans?"

This was once the query posed by way of mythical boxer Teofilo Stevenson within the Seventies, topped via many because the Muhammad Ali of Cuba, in line with a suggestion of 5 million cash to go away his island to struggle Ali. yet now not all Cubans have come to an analogous end, not to mention with such obvious ease. Guillermo Rigondeaux, two-time Olympic champion and inheritor to Stevenson's throne, sacrificed every thing he had in his domestic country—his spouse, his son, his government-subsidized motor vehicle and condo, in addition to common reverence between his fellow citizens—to attempt to make it within the mecca of big-money boxing, the U.S. of the United States. yet has the opportunity to make stable in the United States been well worth the lack of his nationwide identification and the affection of his countrymen? And to what volume has he been corrupted by means of the promise of untold riches?

In A Cuban Boxer's Journey, writer, filmmaker, and journalist Brin-Jonathan Butler chronicles the interesting and tumultuous profession of Rigondeaux—moody, pushed, and nearly mythically talented––as he makes an attempt to seize the elusive and sometimes punishing American dream. See how this athlete's so much daunting problem turns into how he can continue to exist the complicated forces open air of the ring.

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Being the best beginner fighter who ever lived doesn’t promote tickets during this nation. americans hate the Cuban kind. And Florida won’t promote out front row of a dance corridor to monitor their top Cuban combatants. It’s not likely to be effortless for this child. Politics and sports—it’s fucked. ” It had taken me a yr to determine how to reunite with Rigondeaux in the United States. the easiest i may get a hold of used to be ambush. i used to be broke and that i didn’t recognize a person he used to be facing in Miami, the place he had lived because the defection in February 2009 till this fresh circulate to l. a. to coach.

You continue to take care of them? ” “Absolutely. completely I look after them. ” After that Rigondeaux leaned ahead and placed his head opposed to the seat in entrance of him and slept the remainder of the force into Dublin ahead of we checked into our inn. the subsequent morning started with everybody from the workforce loading up the van for the journey to that afternoon’s weigh-in ahead of the subsequent day’s struggle. I acquired into the backseat with Rigondeaux, whereas my cameraman, the final to load his apparatus into the again, struggled to shut the door to the rear of the van.

H. : [Shrugs. ] In a heartbeat. B. J. B. : have been there hazards whether you succeeded from Miami? sooner than smuggler’s boats and all that, all of the Cubans who’d escaped had long past there, most likely simply because humans there have been investment humans to get out, no? G. H. : I didn’t fear approximately none of that. I knew i'll get him fights. I knew i'll get him a superb degree. the single hazards, so far as I cared, have been logistics. Logistically my challenge was once simply getting him from his island to my island, eire. I by no means even dreamed of him eager to visit the States irrespective of who used to be there.

I felt a bit self-conscious smoking in entrance of his son. Self-consciousness hasn’t been invented in Cuba but. He requested if i used to be a boxer myself and flexed his muscle tissue whereas his son laughed. The boy raised his fists to his face and glared menacingly at me until eventually my guffawing obliged him to offer me a pleasant shove. simply then I heard the cheering subside for the struggle that was once happening and spotted a tremendous, towering guy in Cuban tune pants walk around the health club ground by myself. “Quien es esto? ” I requested the dad, to ensure it used to be who i presumed it used to be.

A win for Rigondeaux despatched a message not only to Fidel Castro or Cuban athletes, yet each Cuban—period—that if one have been prepared to struggle for it, the yankee Dream could nonetheless exist. whereas the struggle used to be an important chance for Donaire and Rigondeaux, either boxers knew that inside that possibility lay the chance for greatness—perhaps the one chance. whilst i began overlaying Rigondeaux’s tale in Tijuana, rarely any newshounds have been attracted to something having to do with him. even if, as Rigondeaux’s profile rose, my paintings chronicling his trip progressively provided me extra possibilities than I’d ever had earlier than to arrive a much wider viewers along with his tale.

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