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Betting on a film about Rigondeaux

Guillermo Rigondeaux, left, connects with a right hand

Guillermo Rigondeaux, left, connects with a right hand against Juan Noreigo in the second round of their super-bantamweight bout at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, Friday, May 22, 2009. Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, is making his professional boxing debut after defecting from Cuba in February. (AP Photo/Hans Deryk) Credit: AP Photo/HANS DERYK

There are few things more complicated in the world of athletics than the Cuban sports machine. Trying to tell that story, is challenging as well. Brin-Jonathan Butler is a freelance journalist and independent filmmaker working on a documentary about two-time Olympic gold medalist and current WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux. In 2009, Rigondeaux defected from Cuba.  

"I've been going to Cuba since the Elian Gonzalez affair," said Butler. "I've probably spent nine months there altogether over seven or eight trips since. I began working on my memoir "The Domino Diaries" in late 2007, right around the time I first met Rigondeaux in Havana. I began filming in the Spring of 2010."

The filming came to a halt in March when Rigondeaux flew to Ireland to defend his title against Willie Casey. According to Butler, his camera, and a lot of footage, were stolen the night before Rigondeaux's fight. With his budget almost entirely spent, and his equipment gone, Butler made a leap of faith. He bet the money he had left on Rigondeaux. It would appear that the fighter really wants to see the film finished, because he won by first-round knockout, scoring the director a significant payday.

"After the fight I jumped onto the canvas and leaned over the ropes," said Butler, "just as Rigo saw me and came over near the corner and held out his hand, 'You owe me. I did it for you. Where's my cut? Now you can finish your movie.' "

Here's a trailer for the film: "Hero Traitor Madness: The Guillermo Rigondeaux Story."


Hero Traitor Madness: The Guillermo Rigondeaux Story from Brin-Jonathan Butler on Vimeo.

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