by Tamas Pradarics
The stage is set for one of the most anticipated boxing matches in years. Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux headline later tonight at the Madison Square Garden Theater in Manhattan, New York.
Negotiations for a super-fight between the two-time Olympic gold medalists had been on and off for years but a number of reasons prevented the matchup to come together.
Finally, this past September Rigondeaux (17-0-0-1, 11 KOs), who holds the WBA super bantamweight championship, decided to take a huge challenge and jump up two weight divisions to take on WBO super featherweight belt holder Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs).
Both Lomachenko and Rigondeaux are ranked in the top 5 on all major P4P lists.
During Thursday’s final press conference another one of the highest rated pugilists appeared in Terence Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs).
The Omaha, Nebraska native, who unified all four belts at super lightweight with a historic win over then-unbeaten Julius Indongo this past August, is scheduled to meet the winner of next week’s WBO welterweight championship bout between titleholder Jeff Horn and his challenger, Gary Corcoran.
Questions quickly arose regarding arguably the two best Top Rank fighters at the moment.
”Terence Crawford has a great, great skill level, he is an extremely smart fighter, traditionally, when you look at fighters, like Ray [Leonard], [Marvin] Hagler and so on, he fits right in there with them. The difference between him [Crawford] and Lomachenko is that Lomachenko has a skillset like we have never seen before,” said Bob Arum to a group of reporters during Thursday’s press conference in New York.
”Terence Crawford has a skillset that is equal or better, than the best fighters we have seen, but it is not as an unusual skillset as Lomachenko has.”
BoxingScene.com has Crawford listed at No. 1 on their P4P list, Lomachenko at No. 4 and Rigondeaux at No. 6. The Ring’s P4P list ranks Crawford at No. 2, Lomachenko at No. 3 and Rigondeaux at No. 4 with middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin holding the No. 1 spot.
Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux is promoted by Top Rank and will be televised live on ESPN (6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT) on Saturday, December 9.
You can reach Tamas Pradarics at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @TomiPradarics