- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Junior featherweight Guillermo Rigondeaux, a two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist who defected last year and is one of boxing's top prospects, injured his back and withdrew Wednesday from his fight on Saturday night.
Rigondeaux (5-0, 4 KOs) was scheduled to face experienced Reynaldo Lopez (30-7-3, 21 KOs) of Colombia at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., on the undercard of the Andre Berto-Carlos Quintana welterweight title bout. HBO, which is televising, was slated to air highlights of Rigondeaux's bout, which is unusual for a fighter with so little pro experience.
However, Rigondeaux, citing a sore back after some rough sparring with a welterweight, pulled out, show promoter Lou DiBella told ESPN.com.
"He said he hurt his back. What can I tell you? He pulled out," DiBella said.
However, Rigondeaux (5-0, 4 KOs) is also changing trainers, which may be part of the reason for his withdrawal, although his promoter, Luis DeCubas, said the injury was legitimate.
There was a lot of hype surrounding Rigondeaux's pairing with trainer Freddie Roach last summer. After working out with Rigondeaux for the first time, Roach compared the feeling he got working with him to the way he felt when he first worked out with Manny Pacquiao, who went on to become the pound-for-pound king. But now Rigondeaux and Roach have split, DeCubas told ESPN.com.
"His feeling is he's a two-time gold medal winner and he went all the way out there and felt there were too many fighters in the gym," DeCubas said of Roach's Wild Card gym in Hollywood, Calif. "Nobody was picking him up in the morning to run and he felt he should have been sparring with lighter guys, not 150-pounders. He wasn't getting enough attention from Freddie. He's very disappointed."
Roach, however, was unhappy with Rigondeaux's conditioning and didn't want him to fight Saturday, according to a source close to the trainer.
DeCubas said Rigondeaux is back in Miami, where he is based, looking for a trainer.
Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.
1hBy Jackie MacMullan
3hBy Ian O'Connor