The best fight ever made?
By Gav Duthie: Since the contest was made between amateur stars Vasyl ‘Matrix’ Lomachenko 9-1 (7) and Guillermo ‘The Jackal’ Rigondeaux 17-0-0-1 (11) I have been racking my brain trying to think of a better fight ever made from a technical point of view. It is a fact that they are the first ever double Olympic champions to meet each other as professionals and they are two of the best pound for pound fighters around.
Both fighters, Lomachenko and Rigondeaux, have been making a fool out of their opponents since turning pro with their superior boxing IQ, speed and bamboozling use of angles. The duo are like chess players moving their opponents where they want them and I can’t wait to see how they match up against each other.
I need to make clear I am not saying this is a fight fir the casual. Your not going to witness a no holds barred, no defense, blood and guts Arturo Gatti v Mickey Ward or a Mexican machismo Erik Morales v Marco Antonio Barrera. This is a fight for the purist and the chance to see how is the best technical boxer in the world.
Usually the greatest fights take place between boxer and brawler. The worlds best fighters usually had their biggest contests against tough guys, Ali v Frazier, Robinson v Lamotta, Tunney v Dempsey, Leonard v Duran. The blend of styles usually makes for great viewing but how often do the greatest fighters of all time meet someone as good as them from a technical point of view. Here are my best examples and where Koma v Rigo fits into that list.
Best Technical fights
Arguably the best era in boxing history was the combination of talent from lightweight to welterweight in the mid 1980’s with the Fabulous Four Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns and Roberto Duran.
Ray Leonard v Wilfried Benitez
Ray Leonard v Tommy Hearns
Both Ray and Tommy are considered top 20 or so boxers of all time and although both power punchers they were technically excellent. In their first fight Hearns controlled much of it with his long jab and constant movement but Leonard rallied in round 14 to stop him. Benitez is considered one of the best defensive fighters in history having close fights with Leonard and Hearns and also defeated Roberto Duran.
Sugar Ray Robinson is the greatest fighter of all time and the next great technically he fought and defeated was the inventor of the bolo punch (not Ray Leonard) Kid Gavilan.
Ray Robinson v Kid Gavilan 1,2
Ezzard Charles v Archie Moore 1,2,3
Sandy Saddler v Willie Pep 1,2,3,4
Ezzard Charles and Archie Moore are considered two of the best light heavyweights of all time. Charles was also heavyweight champion for a time whilst Moore had a few unsuccessful attempts at winning the heavyweight crown (only one title per division at this time). Charles was a beautiful boxer and mover whilst Moore was very gifted and invented the crab shell defense. There was no doubt in the 3 contests that Moore could never get near Charles. Ezzard won all 3 fights two by decision and one by 8th round knockout. Willie Pep won the 1949 Ring Magazine fight of the year with a 15 round decision over Saddler but Sandy won the other 3 bouts in their quadrilogy. Pep only lost 11 bouts winning 229 as a pro so Saddlers 3 wins are even more impressive.
Nineties and Naughties
In the 1990s we were treated to some of the greatest natural talents boxing has ever seen. Namely Roy Jones Jnr and one of my favorite fighters and defensive masterclass ‘Sweet Pea’ Pernell Whitaker.
Roy Jones Jnr v James Toney
Roy Jones Jnr v Bernard Hopkins 1
It is a shame that the two times Jones and Hopkins fought they were never in their prime. Their first bout was early on in their careers and in the second one Jones was well past it. Jones v Toney however was a prime fight for the IBF Super Middleweight title. Jones 26-0 v Toney 44-0-2 at the time was a big fight and Jones was very dominant penetrating the slick defence of Toney winning a wide decision.
De La Hoya v Whitaker
Mosley v De La Hoya
Mayweather v De La Hoya
Mayweather v Judah
The DLH v Whitaker fight was entertaining but was very much at the back end of Pernell’s career. He still made Oscar look silly at times with his head movement and defense despite the speed advantage for the younger Golden Boy. Oscar won a close decision. Mosley v De La Hoya was one of the best technical fights I have ever seen. At this point they were seen by many as no 1 and 2 pound for pound. It was a great blend of speed and movement with Mosley earning the decision. Mayweather defeating both De La Hoya and Zab Judah were probably the best technical fighters he faced.
Where does this fit in
Going by the readily available statistics Loma and Rigo have fought a combined 824 fights as both amateur and professional with only 14 losses in total. Rigondeaux 374-12 with Lomachenko 349-1. These guys basically don’t lose fights and I agree with Roy Jones and others that this is the best technical fight ever made.