Rigondeaux says he sold his 2 Olympic gold medals
By Stanley White: Guillermo Rigondeaux revealed on Friday that he no longer has his 2 Olympic gold medals from the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. Rigondeaux says he sold his gold medals for $10,000 so he could feed his family in Cuba.
Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs0 will be facing 2-time Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) this Saturday night on ESPN at Madison Square Garden in New York. Presumably, Lomachenko still has his gold medals.
Rigondeaux, 37, will be moving up in weight 2 divisions to challenge Lomachenko for his WBO super featherweight title. Rigondeaux doesn’t care that he’ll be giving away some size in the fight. He wants the challenge, and he reliazes that the only way for him to increase his popularity is by taking risks with his career. Rigondeaux couldn’t get Lomachenko to accept a fight with him in the past when they were separated by one weight class. It’s only now that Lomachenko is fighting 2 weight classes above him that he was able to get the Ukrainian fighter to agree to a fight with him.
”I don’t want little fights or tomato cans. I want champions. I want fights like this,” said Rigondeaux.
A lot has been made about Lomachenko and Rigondeaux both being 2 time Olympic gold medalists. The hardcore boxing fans have been focusing a lot on that angle for the fight, but the casual fans only care about seeing a good fight. It makes for a good story to hear the commentators talk about the Olympic aspect about the Lomachenko-Rigondeaux fight on Saturday, but if the match boils down to a boring chess match, it’s not going to safe the card from being viewed as a disappointment from the casual boxing fans.
Lomachenko and Rigondeaux will need to let their hands go to entertain the fans on Saturday. The criticism Lomachenko and Rigondeaux have both received in the past from the boxing fans is they’re both boring to watch at times. Lomachenko throws too many pity-pat punches, and he moves too much.
Rigondeaux has been too much of a defensive wizard in some of his fights, and that’s put many boxing fans to sleep. Up until Rigondeaux’s fight with James Dickens, he was dull to watch much of the time. However, Rigondeaux has looked good in his last two fights, and has been very entertaining. In Lomachenko’s case, virtually all of his fights as a pro have been boring to watch in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans, especially his last one against Miguel Marriaga. That one was about as entertaining to watch as watching paint dry in the afternoon sun.
Echoing his promoter Bob Arum’s exact same comments, Lomachenko said this to ESPN about his fight with Rigondeaux:
“It is a historical bout. It is very, very interesting and all of the boxing fans wanted to see the bout and finally we can deliver it. A lot of people, a lot of media, a lot of fans want this fight. If it’s important for them it’s important for me. This bout is special.”
For what it’s worth, Lomachenko had a better amateur record than Rigondeaux in compiling a 396-1 record compared to the Cuban fighter’s 463-12 record. But more importantly than amateur record, which means little when it comes to gauging the success of a fighter in the pro ranks, Lomachenko has beaten the better fighters as a pro than Rigondeaux. Lomachenko has past wins over Gary Russell Jr., Nicholas Walters, Jason Sosa and Miguel Marriaga. Rigondeaux’s best wins have come against Nonito Donaire, Moises Flores, Joseph Agbeko and Drian Franciso. Lomachenko lost to the best fighter he’s faced as a pro in Orlando Salido in 2014. That fight showed that Lomachenko is not good at handling body punchers. Rigondeaux still hasn’t been beaten as a pro, and it’s unlikely he would have lost to a fighter like Salido.
The major reason why Lomachenko has fought better opposition is because he has the powerhouse Top Rank Promotions looking out for him. They’ve been able to lure the top fighters to face Lomachenko by offering a lot of money. Rigondeaux has been avoided by the top dogs in his division. He’s never been able to get guys like Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg, Abner Mares, Leo Santa Cruz or Jessie Magdaleno to fight him. If Rigondeaux had fought those guys by now, his star power would likely be way above where it is now. That’s the problem with boxing. There are few fighters and promoters who are risk takers.
Rigondeaux has been avoided so much that it’s kept him from achieving the star power that he would have if he’d been able to get the top fighters to face him. Lomachenko deserves a lot of credit for finally agreeing to fight Rigondeaux, but unfortunately he waited until he was 2 divisions above him before he gave the green light to have the fight get made by his promoters at Top Rank. You can draw your own conclusions as to why I took Lomachenko this long to face Rigondeaux. It seems logical to conclude that Lomachenko had some doubts about whether he could win the fight. If Lomachenko believed that he could beat Rigondeaux years ago, he would have fought him rather than taking smaller fights against the likes of Marriaga, Sosa, Walters and Gamalier Rodriguez, Roman Martinez and Romulo Koasicha.
“I am going to walk through him like a tank and knock him out,” Lomachenko said. “I am not promising to knock him out but I am promising to squash him.”
It would be better for Lomachenko to give KO predictions for the Rigondeaux fight rather than talking about squashing the Cuban fighter, as that just makes it seem like the Ukrainian fighter plans on using his size advantage to win. For Lomachenko to be given credit for winning the fight, he’s going to need to be viewed as having won the fight based on talent rather than simply being the bigger fighter.
Picking out a guy much smaller than himself to fight is viewed as a weak move by Lomachenko, because he’s been hesitant to move up 1 division to the lightweight division to fight Mikey Garcia. Lomachenko seems afraid to make that move up in weight, even though he would make more money fighting the likes of Garcia, Robert Easter Jr. and Jorge Linares than he is right now fighting guys at super featherweight.