Vasyl Lomachenko defends his titles against Guillermo Rigondeaux this Saturday, December 9th @ Madison Square Garden in New York City.
This “event” is sadly a narrowly confined, amateur boxing aficionado only fight of double Olympic gold medalists in the lighter, less prominent weight divisions. Both, obviously, were superb amateur boxers, but only one has stepped up to the professional rank of greatness with ambitious matchmaking and results, and that’s Lomachenko. Rigondeaux has been a festering canker forever at 118, ignoring the bigger fights that could be had at that weight, nor willing to move up a division for more lucrative fights, such that Bob Arum finally had to wash himself of building stink. Anybody who knows the history of Arum knows he loves a good fight and is stellar in bringing his fighters along the developmental path as he makes increasingly tougher fights in trying to maximize the potential record and purse of both he and the fighter.
Rigondeaux grew up in the communist Cuban system where he was top dog in his division, thusly coddled with perks that presumably gave him a certain status with the Cuban people. American pro boxing is a much tougher task than coddled amateurs can handle no matter how talented as Rigondeaux may be claimed. As a personality, he has a sour puss demeanor and was never regaled by the larger populace in America, and point in fact, I don’t see many Cuban American’s rallying to his cause. Yeah, he has more spending money, and that’s great for him, but not the millions he was promised in making his decision to defect from Cuba. And worse, he has yet to come to grips that it’s his own damn fault for not wanting to fight. Maybe he has a great painter’s mental makeup or that of a great jockey miscast as a fighter, who can know though other than he ain’t no great fighter in the traditional sense of boxing history, nor is more talented than the thousands of talented fighters in history that got nowhere with their talents because of personal limitations such as he possesses, so he gets paid like lowly American fighters these days who have largely moved into the run and stink style so popular in this new generation while being so abhorrent to true professional boxing fans.
For such a supposed superb boxer, Rigondeaux also seems to have become habituated to being knocked down by journeyman types that bodes ill for his prospects for this fight. Lomanchenko, whilst taking an early loss in a dirty Texas jurisdiction where he had to literally throw off the joke of the referee hanging on his back, he had his dirty mugger gasping for his life and begging help from the jokester ref in the waning minutes of the fight. Lomachenko has otherwise been absolutely stellar, nay, say perfectly dominating in his ring performances as to leave both boxing connoisseurs as well as slugging aficionados swooning in desire. Anyone who knows anything about boxing knows those two camps of fans seldom coalesce around a single fighter, but Lomachenko has proven to be the exception that breaks all the rules. He just loves to step into the ring and run through the gears, and of late has become somewhat brawly in his haste to eliminate his opponent.
Such is the hope for Rigondeaux that he has become dependent on. He chokes, hits off the break, low blows, you name it, it’s in his dirty repertoire against the hapless journeymen he’s been facing, and he’s sure to use it against Lomachenko. Moreover, Rigondeaux has something of a run and stink style when faced with a warm body.
Somehow, in some way, Rigondeaux is going to create one big stink of a controversy to end the fight on, so I predict no sublime excellence on display, but I do think Lomachenko maintains his cool to do the business that needs to be done to move on to greater things. I was rather sad the fight was ever announced, but the good news is boxing has already sunk about as low as a pro sport can get, so this just more of the same with no improvements in sight.