By Keith Idec
Vasyl Lomachenko’s promoter expects him to demoralize Guillermo Rigondeaux, similar to the way he broke Nicholas Walters’ will a year ago.
Bob Arum predicted the Ukrainian southpaw not only will beat Rigondeaux on Saturday night, but will stop the unbeaten Cuban or make him quit. The Top Rank founder made the prediction while speaking to Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett on the avid boxing fan’s podcast, “Walking the Floor.”
“I look for Lomachenko to knock Rigondeaux out or stop him or make him quit [by the] ninth, 10th round, something like that,” Arum said. “Rigondeaux’s a tremendous fighter, but Lomachenko’s the best fighter I’ve seen.”
The 29-year-old Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) is nearly a 4-1 favorite over the 37-year-old Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs, 1 NC) in advance of their 12-round fight for Lomachenko’s WBO super featherweight title. They’re set to meet Saturday night in a main event ESPN will televise from The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York (9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST).
Rigondeaux has moved up two weight classes, from 122 pounds to 130, to challenge Lomachenko.
Arum anticipates a dominant performance from Lomachenko in this bout between a pair of two-time Olympic gold medalists. He thinks he’ll press to beat the confident Rigondeaux by knockout, much like he did when he encountered Jamaica’s Walters (26-1-1, 21 KOs) in November 2016 in Las Vegas.
“The difference between [Rigondeaux] and Lomachenko is Lomachenko has all the skills in the world and piles up points, but he’s always looking for how he can destroy his opponent,” Arum said. “In other words, Lomachenko knows that he’s piled up enough points, he can coast in the fight and win. He doesn’t wanna do it because from the opening round, when he feels out his opponent, it’s always with the idea that he’s either gonna destroy the guy or make him quit. A different mentality.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.