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Arum: Rigondeaux is Lomachenko’s biggest challenge out there

Guillermo Rigondeaux Vasyl LomachenkoBy Chris Williams: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is interested in matching his fighter WBO featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko (4-1, 2 KOs) against WBA/WBO super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (15-0, 10 KOs) for later this year.

Arum figures that the Cuban Rigondeaux has the kind of talent to give Lomachenko his toughest test. Thus far, Lomachenko has been beaten only once in his career by Mexican warrior Orlando Salido last year when he pounded out a 12 round split decision after punishing Lomachenko with body shots all fight long.

Lomachenko hadn’t faced a body puncher like Salido, and he was forced to clinch constantly to try and stop the punishment.

The Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux fight negotiations could come down to whether or not there will be a catch-weight and rehydration clause of 135lbs in the contract. Lomachenko fights at 126, while Rigondeaux fights in the 122 pound division. Lomachenko reportedly isn’t interested in catch-weight or a rehydration clause.

“That’s a fight that anybody who is a fight fan would like,” Arum said to Hustle Boss. “You’ve got two guys who were Olympic champions and for them to fight would be historic. “I think Lomachenko is the best fighter in the world and I think he can beat anybody. I think his biggest challenge is Rigondeaux, because of Rigondeaux’s skill sets.”

Lomachenko obviously isn’t the best fighter in the world. Arum can think that, but I don’t think it’s reality. Lomachenko might not even be the best fighter in the featherweight division. I think Nicholas Walters is better than him. We already saw Lomachenko get beaten by Salido, so he clearly still has Salido problems. It’s hard to be the best fighter in the world if you can’t beat Salido.

It makes sense for Rigondeaux to have a rehydration clause in the contract because if the much heavier Lomachenko rehydrates up to 140 or higher, he’d have a tremendous weight advantage over Rigondeaux, who fights at near the 122lb limit after he rehydrates for his fights. If he has to give away 15 pounds in weight to Lomachenko, it would be put Rigondeaux in a bad position to try and win the fight. It would be like asking Lomachenko to try and beat a heavier guy like Lucas Matthysse, who fights in the light welterweight division. Lomachenko might be able to hold up for a while against Matthysse, but eventually he’d do the same thing to Lomachenko that Salido did by punishing him with body shots and forcing him to hold all night long.

Lomachenko has won his last three fights against Gamalier Rodriguez, Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo and Gary Russell Jr. after suffering a defeat at the hands of Salido.

Rigondeaux will be making a mistake if he agrees to fight Lomachenko without a catch-weight or a rehydration clause to keep him from rehydrating up to the 140s. It’s no good for Rigondeaux to be fighting a welterweight in the ring later this year. The last thing Rigondeaux needs is to be facing a guy who outweighs him by 15-20 pounds without a catch-weight or rehydration clause. If Lomachenko wants to fight someone 20 pounds heavier than himself than he needs to take on Keith Thurman or Marcos Maidana and see what it’s like to face guys that much bigger than himself. Somehow I don’t think Lomachenko will come off very well in those fights.

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