By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Guillermo Rigondeaux is 37 years old, has fought a total of three rounds in the past two years and has moved up two weight classes to challenge one of the best boxers in the world.
You wouldn’t know it.
The supremely confident Cuban southpaw promised Wednesday to “beat the sh*t out of” Vasyl Lomachenko when they square off Saturday night in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Ukraine’s Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs), the defending WBO super featherweight champion, is more than a 3-1 favorite over Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs, 1 NC) in this unprecedented clash between two-time Olympic gold medalists.
Rigondeaux, who has competed almost all of his professional career within the super bantamweight division, has paid no mind to doubtful fans, media and odds-makers.
“I have no idea,” Rigondeaux told BoxingScene.com when asked to assess Lomachenko’s skills. “I don’t even look at that sh*t. I adapt, no problem. Like with anyone else, we’re gonna resolve this issue and I’m gonna just beat the sh*t out of him. I know what I’m bringing. I don’t know what the hell he’s bringing, but I know what I’m bringing. I’m bringing mine.”
Known as one of the best defensive fighters in boxing, Rigondeaux didn’t divulge whether he plans to be more aggressive offensively in this scheduled 12-round bout to keep Lomachenko from pressing him.
“Each opponent is different and I adapt to each opponent,” Rigondeaux said. “Sometimes it takes more offense, sometimes it takes more defense. We adjust as we’re in the ring.”
Beyond being able to make weight more easily because he won’t need to cut eight extra pounds, Rigondeaux didn’t do anything different to prepare for this high-profile fight than in previous camps.
“We trained well and we’re 100 percent,” Rigondeaux said. “We had a great training camp. We always train hard for every opponent.”
ESPN will air Lomachenko-Rigondeaux as the main event of a four-fight telecast Saturday night (9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.