Friday, December 15, 2017  |

News

Fight Picks: Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux

07
Dec

This Saturday, Vasyl Lomachenko defends his WBO junior lightweight title against Guillermo Rigondeaux at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York.

It marks the first time two double Olympic gold medalists have met. Lomachenko won back-to-back gold in 2008 and 2012, while Rigondeaux achieved the feat in 2000 and 2004.

This hotly anticipated bout pairs two supremely gifted southpaws. Since debuting in the fall of 2013, Lomachenko (9-1, 7 knockouts) has already captured world titles in two weight classes. Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs) is a former unified junior featherweight titlist, who has made the audacious choice to jump two divisions for a chance to dethrone boxing’s latest golden boy.

Will Lomachenko continue his rise to pound-for-pound supremacy? Or will the Cuban master cause the sensational upset and prove his doubters wrong?

Online gambling group bet365.com lists Lomachenko as a 2/9 (-450) favorite while Rigondeaux is priced at 3/1 (+300).

Here’s how the experts see it:

THE RING MAGAZINE/ RINGTV.COM

TOM GRAY: Lomachenko TKO 6

There is no point in breaking this matchup down from a technical standpoint. Why? Because I’m not qualified to do so. Metaphorically, it would be akin to a capable physics student trying to argue the toss with Stephen Hawking. This is a fight between two extraordinary boxers and their respective talents are otherworldly. It is therefore necessary to simplify things. Rigondeaux is 37 years old (if not older), woefully inactive, jumping two divisions and he hasn’t posted a significant victory since April 2013 (Nonito Donaire). Lomachenko is 29 years old, very active, two divisions larger and he’s been beating, mostly, solid competition while Rigo has been sitting on his hands. It has become fashionable to paint Rigo up as a sympathetic superhero who is untouchable and, at one time, he was. Things have changed, however, and the laws of physiology will come into play. This time, Rigo is in against a bigger man, capable of forcing mistakes and hurting him. Don’t believe the hype: Rigo’s ass is grass and Lomachenko is the lawnmower. One thing I will say, if Rigo makes a fool of me and pulls this off, he’s the best fighter in the world, pound-for-pound. I just don’t think he can do it.

ANSON WAINWRIGHT: Lomachenko UD12

An excellent match up that both really wanted, it’s bragging rights for who is the best amateur of the past two decades and arguably ever. Rigondeaux will be stepping up two divisions and he’s not a big junior featherweight, plus he’s in his late 30s. He’s no longer in his physical prime. I feel for him, he’s been widely castigated, though he’s not really helped himself with some band performances that all but vetoed him at HBO and by former promoter Top Rank. Lomachenko is the apple of everyone’s eye, supremely talented and willing to showcase his otherworldly ability and press fights, looking for stoppage wins. I expect a cagey opening, that will suit the counterpunching skills of the cerebral Rigondeaux but all told, Lomachenko is the bigger, younger man and he’s just as talented. It’s tough to see him not winning.

LEE GROVES: Lomachenko TKO 9

Rigondeaux has numerous mountains to overcome against Lomachenko: The two weight-class jump, an eight-year age deficit, three inches in height and inactivity. He also won’t enjoy his usual southpaw advantage because Lomachenko is also a lefty. He also won’t have his usually gigantic knowledge gap because Lomachenko is also a two-time gold medalist with hundreds of amateur bouts under his belt. Finally, Rigondeaux will be hitting a man naturally larger than he is and that man also throws tons of punches while Rigondeaux is miserly but precise with his. Bigger, younger, faster, nimbler and just as intelligent — that’s a lethal combination. Rigondeaux’s extraordinary defensive skill will see him through to the latter stages of the fight, but Lomachenko will land enough punches to create the necessary attrition. Maybe this will end in yet another corner stoppage.

MICHAEL WOODS: Lomachenko UD

Rigo on social media has been talking a helluva game. But wait…weight. He’s trying to jump too high. That weight class isn’t suited to him. He will get broken down by the last three rounds or so, but is wily enough to not get stopped. Hoping that this is too much of a chess match, with more cerebral feats being displayed than physical…I see Loma by UD, a three-point edge.

GARETH A. DAVIES: Lomachenko TKO 12

Lomachenko has shown the ability to box early and work out his opponents before going for the jugular. Rigondeaux will revert to type and be typically Cuban in this bout but will lack the fire power to overcome the Ukrainian. Loma to win on points or by late stoppage.

NORM FRAUENHEIM: Lomachenko UD

It’s fascinating on so many levels. Call it boxing’s version of three-dimensional chess. In the end, however, a timeless fundamental figures to be the determining factor. To wit: There’s a reason for weight classes. Guillermo Rigondeaux has advantages, including about a 2.5-inch edge in reach over the taller Lomachenko. But the Cuban is jumping up two divisions, from 122 to 130. It’s a step too far in a fight that will end in the clever Lomachenko winning more with size and strength than his advertised creativity.

TOM GERBASI: Lomachenko UD

This is a purist’s dream fight and while it may not produce fireworks, just seeing two masters of the art squaring off is enough for me. When coming up with a winner, the key factor has to be the place both are at in their careers. Rigo may be past his best, while Lomachenko is likely just entering his prime. Rigo still has some tricks up his sleeve, but I’ll stick with Lomachenko UD12.

BOXING INSIDERS

RON KATZ (MATCHMAKER): Lomachenko UD

A purist’s dream fight, two exceptionally skilled fighters squaring off similar to when Leonard took on Hearns. Lomachenko is a marvelous fighter that arguably is the best around today. Rigondeaux also possess incredible skills so it comes down to a couple on intangibles. Lomachenko will have a huge size and physical advantage. Rigondeaux has fought almost exclusively at 122 and is now jumping up two-weight divisions to 130. Rigondeaux has fought a total of 3 rounds since July of 2016 and when you step into the ring with a guy like Lomachenko that doesn’t bode well for your chances of victory. I see Lomachenko dictating the pace and forcing Rigondeaux to do things he normally isn’t accustomed to. It wouldn’t surprise me if Lomachenko stopped Rigondeaux but nonetheless, I see a clear victory for him.

ERIC BOTTJER (MATCHMAKER): Lomachenko UD

Rigondeaux is brilliant, but also a bantamweight, perhaps older than his listed age and will fight as he always does – carefully. Lomachenko is a man from the future. He does things never seen before in a boxing ring. He is the younger, bigger fighter and matches Rigondeaux’s talent. I don’t see a way the Cuban can win.

KATHY DUVA (PROMOTER): Lomachenko UD

Lomachenko-Rigondeaux is an intriguing fight between two elite pros who were, arguably, the best amateur fighters of all time. Rigondeaux has more experience as a pro. But Lomachenko is a brilliant fighter who seems to learn and grow with each round he fights. In the end, I think that Lomachenko’s youth and size advantages will win the day. I pick Lomachenko by decision. But I would not rule out the possibility that he wins with a late KO.

JOLENE MIZZONE (MATCHMAKER): Lomachenko UD

There are two factors here, Lomachenko is the much more active fighter and I think that Lomachenko is just a little better. It is a matchup of two talented fighters, but the only way I see Rigo winning is by running.

JOHN BENINATI (MATCHMAKER): Rigondeaux SD

Rigo wins a split decision. His accurate elusive style will be too much for Lomachenko to overcome. Lomachenko will be the aggressor. Both are southpaws. Lomachenko who is the much better puncher will have a difficult time catching him. Very, very entertaining fight and close.

SEAN GIBBONS (MATCHMAKER): Lomachenko UD

I look at the Loma vs. Rigo fight on paper as a good fight. But then we do not fight fights on paper but in the ring. So with that I think Guillermo Rigondeaux is a very small fighter to being fighting at 130 pounds. He stunk the house out at 118 and 122 with his defensive minded style. He is not a risk taker. You’re going to see a stinky fight where Loma, after a few rounds, figures out Rigondeaux in an ugly chess match type of fight. As the fight progresses you will see a more defensive Rigo and Lomo cruises to an easy decision or late round stoppage.

CARL FRAMPTON (BOXER): Lomachenko TKO 9

It’s a great fight with two of the best amateur fighters of all time. Rigo is an unbelievably accurate puncher but for me he doesn’t punch enough for someone as big and as busy as Lomachenko. Loma is my favorite active fighter to watch at the minute and I think his size and work rate wins this fight in around eight or nine rounds.

PAULIE MALIGNAGGI (FORMER BOXER/TV ANALYST): Lomachenko TKO

I think Rigo is a slightly better fighter but making up the difference in weight and age may tilt my opinion to Loma winning. Loma gets tons of credit while Rigo will probably be amongst the most underappreciated fighters in history. In a boxing world where people – unjustly – put little relevance anymore into size and age, it could wind up being exactly that and that makes the difference in the fight. Tough to say, I say Loma late stoppage while he’s possibly behind on the cards. The size and youth may show the later the fight goes.

BARRY JONES (FORMER BOXER/TV ANALYST): Lomachenko TKO 9

I’m going for Loma and maybe by stoppage. The easiest thing to mention is the size and that will play a huge factor because even though I feel Rigo is the snappier puncher and probably pound-for-pound the bigger puncher of the two, I feel Loma will be able to absorb some of those shots. Both are artists in the ring and almost impossible to hit clean – Rigo is the most elusive – but where Rigo’s moves are almost always defensive, Loma is always looking to make you miss and make you pay for it. His movements are tighter all around the target thus giving him the opportunity to return fire on your blind side and from angles you can’t and don’t expect. Rigo’s movements are of a bigger arc, with the wide stance and the pivot off the front foot, he goes from his back to the ropes to the center of the ring in one movement, brilliant but harder to be as offensive as Loma. The work ethic of Loma will force Rigo to fire back which I think will be more than willing to do and with that making it a more entertaining fight than people are expecting. But as they say, a good big un always beats a good small one. So Lomachenko a late TKO in around 8-10.

DUKE McKENZIE (FORMER BOXER/TV ANALYST): Lomachenko UD

The fact this is the first time two double Olympians have fought each other is fantastic and adds more spice. This may never be repeated in our life time. It’s a mouth-watering fight and if these two boxers were the same size I’d pick Rigondeaux but Lomachenko is too big and just as skilful. Points, unanimous decision Lomachenko.

ISMAEL SALAS (TRAINER): Rigondeaux UD

I think it is a very competitive fight. If Rigo can control the different angles from Lomachenko, I think Rigo can win. They are two good fighters. Technically everybody says the bigger guy will be the winner but in this case – not because I trained him – I think Rigo wins this fight by unanimous decision. I know what Rigo is capable of.

VICTOR SILVA (TV ANALYST): Lomachenko UD

Even when it might look like the perfect match, this could end in a boring fight. Rigondeaux is the fighter that promises a lot of action but never delivers. Lomachenko is always fun to watch. It depends on how much Rigondeaux wants to fight.

Final tally: 17-2 in favor of Vasyl Lomachenko.

 

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright

 

Struggling to locate a copy of THE RING Magazine? Try here or
Subscribe

 

You can order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page.
On the cover this month: THE RING 100

  • D. Gambino

    Lomachenko TKO8 Rigondeaux.
    For me, this is a mismatch due to Rigo’s age, inactivity, and lack of good opposition in his professional career. I don’t even have to factor that Rigo is going up two divisions for this fight and combine that with his already shaky chin and we have a high potential for a stoppage.

    I will say this – if Rigo gets on his bike (which we all know he will) I can definitely see this fight going all 12 rounds. It won’t matter because it will clear unanimous decision for Lomachenko.

    • Gian Torres

      “if Rigo gets on his bike (which we all know he will)”

      Running like Lara did vs Canelo is indeed ugly and boring but real boxing by sticking and moving is beautiful to watch except when it’s combined with hugs to get an unfair advantage that also makes it ugly. I got Loma by decision or late stoppage.

  • Floridastorm

    Some people keep stating that Rigo is the bigger puncher. One KO in his last 7 fights is not a puncher. A puncher is when you make your last three opponents quit on their stools via TKO due to taking a beating. Rigo certainly can’t absorb punches, even at 122. How many times has he been on the deck. Lomo has never even been wobbled. Rigo may even be 40 years old. Nobody really knows. I just hope that Rigo does not get hurt. His Cuban pedigree may keep him from getting seriously hurt. At least I hope so for his sake

    • Stephen M

      Rigo is a counterpuncher. Once he hurts his opponent they tend to go into a defensive shell and leave Rigo with little to work with. So I’m not sure that his KO rate accurately represents his punching power.

      • Nathan Dryden

        Agreed, Rigo can punch. Not concussive power but sharp and whip like and defiantly enough to keep a fighter honest. Rigo’s problem is he just doesn’t throw enough, but he is undefeated for a reason. Lesser fighters than Loma have put Rigo on his bum before but were unable to finish him. Rigo has exceptional footwork but that is one place I think that Loma out skills him, Loma creates insane angles and combos with his footwork and I think will prove too much for Rigo. Loma by late round TKO

    • TMT NYC-DA REAL GHOSTBUSTERS

      His Cuban pedigree will help him readjust nicely to life back in Cuba.

    • Fist_ti_cuffs

      I agree about him not having elite punching power, but he has that Floyd pop and elite lateral footwork that keeps those larger guys from trying to just bum rush him. I don’t see Lomo putting him down though as he’s not an elite puncher either.

    • ceylon mooney

      two KOs

      one punch KOs

      he aint got the busiest hands

      look at the faces of donaire, giant japanese dude, and a few others he hit.

      his opponents REALLY hate gettin punched by him.

  • chickenstock

    Okay… Rigo. I’ll go with him. Partly because I want the upset kudos. And partly because I think he knows this is it. Do or die.

    • Stephen M

      A brave prediction.

  • Gopal Rao

    I think the worst-case scenario is that it ends up a low volume chess match type of fight where they end up feinting and posing in front of each other for long stretches without throwing any punches. If that’s the case, I think it’s a toss up. Rigondeaux will likely be more accurate, but Lomachenko strikes me as the one who will be more active.

    • Floridastorm

      Have you ever seen Lomo in a chess-match? He is punching every second of every round. Rigo may be playing chess but Lomo will be playing war.

  • WillieSmalls

    I’m rooting big for Rigo. I haven’t disliked a fighter (Loma) like this for quite some time. Arrogant little shit & his manager Klimas too.

    • Floridastorm

      I believe it is Rigo who is mouthing off every other day not Lomo. It’s not in the Ukrainian or Russian culture to be arrogant or talk trash about an opponent. Can’t see where anyone would consider Lomo arrogant. I don’t equate confidence with arrogance.

      • JV316

        lol wtf are you talking about he talks trash during the damn fights even…i don’t mind i like it…but tough to paint any group as all the same, and that includes ukrainians

  • Icada

    Totally with Tom Gray here. Don’t get me wrong, I am excited for this fight, but it is definitely a mismatch. Lomachenko is the heavy favourite. If Rigo manages to pull this off, he 100% has to go to the top of the p4p rankings.

    • D. Gambino

      I’ll put him in top 10. Rigo’s resume is garbage even if he were to beat Loma.

      • Nathan Dryden

        He beat the prime out of Donair…. no small feat there and raises his resume from garbage to so-so

        • Floridastorm

          Donaire was relatively slow and has a terrible defense. Still, he put Rigo down. If Lomo puts Rigo down he will finish him and not allow him to recover. Also, outside of Donaire, who has he ever fought that didn’t have a 2nd job as a cab driver? How is this guy rated so high?

  • Tony Nightstick

    I’m bucking the trend here by predicting a win for Rigo by split or majority decision.

  • wrecksracer

    I’m going with Rigo. No, I won’t be putting any money down on it, though. LOL…..I think it’s more a case of me wanting to see Arum lose.

    • ceylon mooney

      ungrateful. hes been workin his ass off on givin us pacquiao-bradley 4.

    • Keano

      F it I’m gonna put some money down on it I won on Ali last weekend hopefully I can make it 2 out of 2

  • Dave O’Connor

    I don’t care who wins, this fight should be epic!
    I also think there will be a rematch which is also good.

  • David Edward Perdue Jr.

    I got Loma 8 rds to 4 for a UD. I think Rigo will have some success early but as the fight goes on will need to adjust. Rigo has no frills or special affects. He is defense first and only opens up when he sees something he can capitalize on. Loma will take punches to get his punches off but he too can be very defensive and force Rigo out of his shell. But out of the 2, Loma has the better offense and can use his lateral movements and ability to get fighters off balance and out of position when he wants to. Loma has been in with quick handed Russell jr, rough housing Salido, boxer puncher Walters and made them all look bad. Even in his loss to Salido, once he figured out what was happening, he came back in that fight and made it close. Rigo moving up in weight would be to his advantage if he was facing a flat footed fighter with no skill but Loma may be just as quick as Rigo and is fighting at his comfort weight. Hope Rigo proves me wrong, but just can’t see it.

  • TMT NYC-DA REAL GHOSTBUSTERS

    Here’s how the REAL experts see it: STINKER!

  • TMT NYC-DA REAL GHOSTBUSTERS

    Prediction: They will find some geriatric, senile judge to f*ck this up!

    • Rick

      That’s about the only thing you can count on.

    • Cool Ichi

      Actually, that is more of a spoiler than a prediction.

  • Larry Connor

    Loma by stoppage. Too big and strong. Rigo is old and inactive.

  • Roberto Carlos Guerra

    Both Rigo and Loma are among my five favorite fighters today. I kind of hate to see them fight each other and it will be sad to see either of them lose, but logic tells me it’s gonna be a bad night for Rigo. I just hope the Cuban doesn’t take too much punishment and manages to look good in losing a competitive decision to Loma. But the cruelty of boxing statistics tells me this may be the last time we see the Cuban prodigy in a big fight (though I’ll admit I’d be real happy to see Rigo create an upset, not because I want Loma to lose but because I’d love to see Arum shit his geriatric himself).

  • Canek

    A natural BW going up against a JWW, easiest fight Vasyl will have against a name opponent.

  • Kevin Perry

    People talk about the activity of every opponent of rigo but then when they get in the ring with him it goes way down. He is very savy and its difficult to see but he winds up controlling the pace of fights. I think lomo will force him to take the lead early then he will amp the pressure later on. Im not big on lomachenko but to ask an older fighter to jump two weights is a lot. Who knows he is older now so maybe he needed to move up anyway. I lean to vasily based on rigos inactivity more than anything

  • FLOMATARD

    Judges are – CJ Ross, AdAlaide Byrd, and Bob Arum.

    All I want is to leave those judges useless. End the fight with KO/stoppage/retired.