By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Guillermo Rigondeaux doesn’t consider Vasyl Lomachenko the best fighter, pound-for-pound, in boxing.
The unbeaten Cuban called Lomachenko “a great fighter,” but isn’t convinced the unusually skilled Ukrainian southpaw has earned that distinction. Rigondeaux isn’t overly concerned about those debates and essentially said those mythical titles are for fans and media to decide.
That’s not particularly surprising since Rigondeaux understandably considers himself to be an unbeatable, elite talent and expects to beat Lomachenko in their 12-round, 130-pound title fight Saturday night in The Theater at Madison Square Garden (ESPN; 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST).
But Lomachenko doesn’t consider himself boxing’s pound-for-pound champion, either.
“No, I don’t think so,” Lomachenko told a group of reporters through a translator before an open workout Wednesday at Mendez Boxing Gym.
The 29-year-old Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs), who owns the WBO super featherweight title, later stated that he considers Terence Crawford the best active boxer in the world.
“If you’re talking about pound-for-pound, No. 1,” Lomachenko said, “on my list it’s Crawford.”
The 30-year-old Crawford cleaned out the junior welterweight division earlier this year before giving up the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 140-pound championships to move up to welterweight. The WBO has since installed him as the No. 1 contender to its 147-pound champion, Jeff Horn.
Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs), of Omaha, Nebraksa, is expected to face the winner of a December 13 bout between Australia’s Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs) and England’s Gary Corcoran (17-1, 7 KOs) sometime early in 2018.
BoxingScene.com ranks Crawford at No. 1 and Lomachenko at No. 4 on its pound-for-pound list.
ESPN.com ranks Lomachenko at No. 2 and Crawford at No. 3 on its list. The Ring magazine has Crawford at No. 2 and Lomachenko at No. 3.
Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) is ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound by both ESPN.com and The Ring.
Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs, 1 NC), the WBA super bantamweight champion, is ranked No. 6 by BoxingScene.com, No. 7 by ESPN.com and No. 4 by The Ring.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.