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Rigondeaux not worried about Lomachenko

Guillermo Rigondeaux Vasiliy Lomachenko

By Chris Williams: Super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs) isn’t worried in the slightest about him being the smaller man than WBO super featherweight champion Vasily “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) in their fight on December 9 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Rigondeaux thinks Lomachenko has padded his record with weak opponents, and he feels he’s faced the better guys during his 8-year pro career.

Lomachenko lost to the best guy he fought in Orlando Salido in losing a 12 round split decision in 2014. Lomacenko’s best wins in his short 4-year pro career have come against these guys:

• Nicholas Walters

• Gary Russell Jr.

• Jason Sosa

• Miguel Marriaga

• Jose Ramirez

Walters and Russell Jr. are good fighters, but the rest of them are so-so. They’re not great talents, and Lomachenko didn’t prove much by beating them. The one guy that Lomachenko should have beaten if he were as good as boxing fans think he is right now is Orlando Salido. Lomachenko didn’t have the talent to beat Salido though. Now that Salido has gotten older and is nearing 40, Lomachenko wants to fight him. It’s too late. Even if Lomachenko beats Salido, he won’t get the credit that he would have if he’d beaten him the first time around.

“If there is any concern that I’m going up by two weight divisions, it’s because nobody wants to fight me at [Super-Bantamweight] and [Featherweight],” said Rigondeaux to Boxnation.com. “I will not have problems; he is the one who is going to have them, because I am not like those dead men with whom he has fought.”

Lomachenko, 5’6”, has a couple inches of height over the 5’4” Rigondeaux and is probably at least 10 pounds on him. Lomachenko might even be 15 lbs. heavier than Rigondeaux, who fights in the 122lb. division and rehydrates to no more than 4 lbs. above that. Lomachenko rehydrates around 140. So, we’re talking about 15 lbs. difference in weight between the two fighters when they step inside the ring on December 9.

With fighters as small as Lomachenko and Rigondeaux, having a 15-lb. weight advantage is like have 30 lb. weight advantage for a fighter in the light heavyweight division. It would be like a light heavyweight fighting a cruiserweight. Can someone from the 175lb. division beat a cruiserweight from the 200-lb. weight class? Yes, they probably can. It wouldn’t be easy though. Rigondeaux is going to need to out-fox Lomachenko, and use his counter punching and accurate shots to nail him each time he goes on the attack.

Lomachenko likes to move and throw a lot of weak pitty-patter type of shots against his opponents. Lomachenko will no doubt be trying to do that. He’ll use movement against Rigondeaux in hopes of confusing him. It worked for Lomachenko in his fights with Marriaga, Russell Jr. and Walters. I’m not sure if it’ll work against Rigondeaux. He’s obviously dealt with that style before during his days on the Cuban amateur boxing team. As a pro, most of the guys that Rigondeaux has fought have been the type that has come directly at him.

“[Regarding] his stature, almost all of my opponents have been taller than me,” said Rigondeaux.

Rigondeaux has the reach advantage over Lomachenko by 3 inches. That more than makes up for Rigondeaux’s height deficit against him.

Rigondeaux’s best wins of his career have come against these guys:

• Nonito Donaire

• Ricardo Cardoba

• Teon Kennedy

• Robert Marroquin

• Joseph Agbeko

• Moises Flores

• Drian Francisco

• Hisashi Amagasa

It’s debatable whether Rigondeaux has the better opposition than Lomachenko during his career. Donaire was in his prime when he lost to Rigondeaux, and it was a great win. There isn’t anyone of that class on Lomachenko’s resume that he’s beaten. Russell Jr. and Walters are good fighters. Lomachenko fought Walters with him having been out of the ring for a year, and with him coming off of a bad performance against Jason Sosa. I think Walters was the same fighter he once was by the time he fought Lomachenko. He had slipped a notch.

Lomachenko realizes he’s in a no-win situation in fighting a guy as small as Rigondeaux. Lomachenko quite rightly sees it as a fight where he won’t get credit even if he beats Rigondeaux. The boxing fans will view it as Lomachenko winning because of his size along rather than on his talent.

“[Rigondeaux] is shorter and smaller than I am,” said Lomachenko to Boxing Ukraine via Boxnation.com. ”No matter how I will lead this fight, I will not win anything in the eyes of the critics. In the eyes of the haters after the fight they will say, ‘Well, who cares if he won [he’s bigger]’.”

It’s Lomachenko’s fault that he won’t get credit. He could have agreed to come down in weight to meet Rigondeaux at a catch-weight to make the fight fairer. Lomachenko could have offered to insert a rehydration clause in the contract with Rigondeaux to make sure he doesn’t rehydrate over a certain point that would make the fight unfair. If Lomachenko weighs the same amount as Rigondeaux on the night of the fight, then there’s no way you can’t give him credit if he beats him.

There isn’t a rehydration clause in the contract for the Lomachenko-Rigondeaux fight, and there isn’t a catch-weight either. Rigondeaux has to move up in weight 2 divisions to face Lomachenko at 130 at super featherweight instead of the 2-time Olympic Ukrainian gold medalist coming down to featherweight at 126 to meet Rigondeaux halfway. It would have been smart thing for Lomachenko to do, but he decided to use his A-side position in the negotiations to work things in his favor.

“I will try to win colorfully and brightly. I will be boxing my own style. I will be trying and working hard to simply squash him!” said Lomachenko about Rigondeaux.

Rigondeaux has been hurt before in his fights against the huge 5’10 ½” Hisashi Amagasa and 5’8” Roberto Marriquin. Those were both much bigger fighters than Rigondeaux or Lomachenko, but they didn’t beat the Cuban. Lomachenko is going to have to try and use his weight advantage to beat Rigondeaux, because he’s not going to have the advantage in hand speed. The power is about the same between them. Rigondeaux is the more accurate puncher. If he lands his hand on the button, he could KO Lomachenko.




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