By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – A lot of fighters say they’re their own worst critics.
Vasyl Lomachenko means it.
The WBO super featherweight champion dismissed talk about being named “Fighter of the Year” following his technical-knockout victory over Guillermo Rigondeaux on Saturday night in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Promoter Bob Arum, ESPN announcers and others raved about Lomachenko’s performance against the defensive-minded Rigondeaux, but Lomachenko wasn’t overly impressed with what he had accomplished.
Lomachenko was as quick as anyone to point out that Rigondeaux moved up two weight classes for their title fight, from 122 pounds to 130. The previously undefeated Rigondeaux declined to continue after six monotonous rounds because he said he hurt his left hand.
When asked if his third TKO victory of 2017 warrants winning “Fighter of the Year” awards, Lomachenko said, “No.”
A reporter reminded Lomachenko that he recorded three wins this year, but Lomachenko isn’t impressed.
“So what?,” Lomachenko said. “Not three big wins. It’s not big for me because [he’s] not my weight, [he’s] not my size. It’s not a big win for me. Maybe it’s a big win for people who love boxing, but not for me.”
Ukraine’s Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) was comfortably ahead on all three scorecards when their fight was stopped (60-53, 59-54, 59-54). Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic gold medalist from Cuba, lost for the first time as a professional (17-1, 11 KOs, 1 NC).
Lomachenko’s previous fight, a one-sided defeat of Miguel Marriaga, was stopped following seven rounds August 5 in Los Angeles.
Like Rigondeaux, however, Marriaga moved up to 130 pounds to challenge Lomachenko. Even worse, Colombia’s Marriaga (25-3, 21 KOs) lost his prior bout to WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (23-0, 19 KOs), who beat Marriaga by 12-round unanimous decision April 22 in Carson, California.
In his first fight of this year, Lomachenko dominated former WBA super featherweight champion Jason Sosa (20-3-4, 15 KOs). Sosa’s trainer, Raul Rivas, stopped that fight following the ninth round April 8 in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
The 29-year-old Lomachenko hopes to start off 2018 with a high-profile fight against a top opponent, perhaps WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs).
“I want a big fight,” Lomachenko said. “I want a big name. But, you know, guys, I’m ready for anybody. I’m ready.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.