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“Taz” Talks: Lomachenko-Rigondeaux

By Power VCT: Jeff “Taz” Bumpus gives his professional experience and boxing insight on Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux from last Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.

A couple of days have gone by and the Lomachenko-Rigondeaux fight has faded from the forefront, with the exception of those who “meme-joke “the loser into oblivion. Facebook and #BoxingNews24 provides to us an outlet for our frustrations in that capacity.

So what about Rigo? What’s the story? Anyone who tells you that he knows for a fact is talking out his or her a**. That might even include Rigodeaux himself. I’m not going to say I definitely know why he did it. But I’m going to take a stab at it.

Okay, first off, even when you are just sparring you are going to get dinged and going into a fight with a ding is always in the back of your mind. Some will say, ‘you’re already making excuses in case you lose.’ In this case “some” are usually those who have never fought anyone but their sister.

It’s human nature to keep a running tab on all the things wrong with your body. These thoughts affect everyone differently. Some would never admit having the thought at all, while some would tell you simply that even having such thoughts, they simply could not allow the negativity to exist. They closed it out. That was the way they handled the whole matter. No negative thoughts.

My manager Larry Young once said, ”Jeff cannot fight until everything has gone wrong.“ That’s the way I handled it. If I dinged my hand up sparring, oh man I can’t believe this shit happened one week before the fight! But because I had acknowledged it, talked about it, taken stock of my worries, by the time the fight rolled around and Larry would ask me how the hand felt, I would say, ‘Hell with that hand, we’re going!’ Now I could fight.

Which bring us back to Rigo. Hands are fragile things. They weren’t created to hit other human beings in the head. We just appropriated them for that purpose. So he probably has had hands that, for years, have been as strong as Charming tissue paper. He’s been doing this since he was a small boy, I would imagine. He’s fighting a bigger, younger, stronger, faster version of himself as a youth, and boxing takes a streak of cruelty. Right now Lomachenko has it. He enjoys clowning his hapless opponents. And they quit.

Lomachenko exalts himself before the crowd in true gladiator fashion, and the crowd is entertained. Rigondeaux, however, is forced to face that cruelty on a past due bill. His payback is here and this Russian youth is quickly becoming Americanized. All those days of rounds past when Rigondeaux toyed with the mouse because he was the cat, in gyms all over the world and in front of crowds will now be cashed in and his pride would not let him throw himself on the sword. That aching hand of his, often talking to him late at night, screaming at him on some is right there. It’s real. It hurts. Something is wrong with it to be sure. Now he will heed it.

You might think that I condemn Rigondeaux for not taking the beating. Truthfully, he wasn’t being beaten up at the moment he quit. He was being tagged but Loma wasn’t throwing punches to hurt. He was throwing punches to prove he was faster.

Rigondeaux has earned the right to make much more than 400$k for fighting someone like Lomachenko. I think all these realizations; paybacks due, aching bones, fading reflexes, piss poor paycheck, all came to bear and he simply said, “I do not owe the crowd my humiliation and further injury.”

It’s up to each of us to decide for ourselves if he is right. But I’d encourage everyone to remember that Roberto Duran’s greatest moments of bravery and glory came after, “No Mas”!

Thanks again Jeff “Taz” Bumpus for sharing your thoughts with #PowerVCTBoxing.

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