Two of the absolute best in the world do battle on ESPN this weekend when Vasyl Lomachenko meets Guillermo Rigondeaux. Get the fight preview here.
Saturday night features two of the top technical fighters in the world today when Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1; 7 KO) faces Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0; 11 KO). Lomachenko’s WBO Junior Lightweight (130 lb.) title is on the line. Ring Magazine ranks both men in the top 5 pound for pound – Lomachenko at #3, Rigondeaux at #4. The fight will air live on ESPN this Saturday, December 9 with a fight time of 9:00 p.m. ET.
How do these two stack up?
Lomachenko: 29 years old | 5’6” | 65″ reach | southpaw stance
Rigondeaux: 37 years old | 5’4″ | 68″ reach | southpaw stance
What have these two done recently?
Lomachenko: W – Miguel Marriaga (RTD) | W – Jason Sosa (RTD) | W – Nicholas Walters (RTD)
Rigondeaux: NC – Moises Flores | W – Jazza Dickens (RTD) | W – Drian Francisco (UD)
How did these two get here?
Vasyl Lomachenko is simply an incredible athlete. The Ukranian fighter is a two time Olympic gold medalist, with an amateur record of 396-1. He went pro in 2013, lost his second pro fight to crafty veteran Orlando Salido, and won a world title in his 3rd fight by defeating Gary Russell, Jr. In his 7th fight, he moved up in weight and became a two division champion. He’s an amazing technician, with more of a vicious side than some of his other technical counterparts (like Rigondeaux) – it’s been 3 years since anyone went the distance with him. He’s amazing, and only seems to be getting better.
Guillermo Rigondeaux has an amateur career almost as flashy as Lomachenko’s – a 475-12 record, and his own pair of Olympic gold medals. Cuba’s Rigondeaux turned pro in 2009. His highest profile fight to date was his 2013 showdown with Nonito Donaire. Donaire came into that fight red hot, and Rigondeaux took him apart. But what should have been a career making performance actually became a huge setback, as fighters did not want to face him, and promoters did not want to feature him. Since then, Rigondeaux has been looking every bit the technical marvel, but he’s not had the chance to show it off consistently against top level opposition. He’s technically not coming in off a win because his last fight featured a fight-ending shot that inadvertently landed after the bell, so was ruled a No Contest.
What can fans expect?
You can expect a display of the absolute highest level of technique possible. Period. Both men have that superhuman ability to know where their opponent will be, how they can land, and how they can avoid the return. Seeing them square off will be a joy. Despite their similar pedigrees, they approach their technique differently, as Lomachenko goes for the kill, while Rigondeaux bases his game around supreme defense. Rigo does have power, but it doesn’t match Loma’s, who is also the bigger man (Rigo is moving up in weight here). This is a fight where I anticipate rounds being razor close, decided by just the slimmest of margins with few clean shots to count. I see that power edge being the difference maker, with Lomachenko managing to hurt Rigondeaux more than the Cuban hurts him. But this is a tough, tough fight to pick.
Prediction: Vasyl Lomachenko, UD
Who should watch?
Listen, this is probably not going to be non-stop bombs. But it WILL be a showcase of amazing, amazing talent, no matter what. If you have any interest at all in what high end strikers can do, you need to watch this. Oh, and the winner will stake his claim as the best in the world. Watch it.