On Saturday at a sold out Theater at Madison Square Garden, dual Olympic champions Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux go mano a mano for the formers WBO Super Feather strap. BoxNation screen live.
They’re certainly the best two technicians presently active – possibly ever – but Glynn Evans canvassed 14 leading fight faces as to who they think will emerge ‘Numero Uno’.
JIM MCDONNELL (TRAINER) - LOMACHENKO POINTS
This fight really intrigues me; it’s the weight I boxed at and so evenly pitched. It reminds me of Sugar Ray Leonard vs Marvin Hagler, two skilsters at the very highest level. The skill factor is going to be so much higher than you’d usually see. Look how easily both have dealt with top opposition.
Riga has much faster hands and being the bookies underdog might inspire him even more. But, at a push, I sway to ‘Loma’. He’s the bigger man which gives him a marginal edge. Lomachenko on points.
DOM INGLE (TRAINER) - LOMACHENKO
Lomachenko. Too big, too fast, too young. ‘Loma’ has the tools – the movement and angles - to deal with Rigondeaux’s patient style. He’ll force Rigondeaux to make mistakes and could stop him late. Rigondeaux’s getting old.
FRANK WARREN (HALL OF FAME PROMOTER) - LOMACHENKO
Lomachenko wins. Unlike others, I don’t see size being a big issue. ‘Loma’ started down at feather and has just moved through the weights to increase his opportunities. I just think he’s the superior fighter all round; he’s got a great brain and gets into great positions, punches from dangerous angles.
Rigondeaux is very clever but ‘Loma’ is a multi division champion and isn’t even in double figures (for fights). If he connects clean, I can even see him stopping Rigondeaux.
SUNNY EDWARDS (FLYWEIGHT) - RIGONDEAUX
I think Rigondeaux wins a tight, thinking fight, rather than a physical fight. It’ll be more of a fence than a fight. Both will try to draw the other’s lead then counterpunch. Therefore, I don’t think weight will be an issue.
The Cuban’s boxing IQ is a little ahead of Lomachenko’s and that’ll become evident down the stretch. He’s been boxing at world title level that little bit longer against better opposition, like (Nonito) Donaire
‘Loma’ is one of this generation’s greats but, unlike ‘Rigo’, he’s already been beaten as a pro by (Orlando) Salido. He showed holes that Rigondeaux can exploit.
Whoever is more patient will be more successful and I believe that’ll be ‘Rigo’. He’s so accurate and ‘Loma’ is there to be caught.
Rigondeaux is capable of a flawless performance and ‘Loma’ might be the man to bring that out of him.
MATT MACKLIN (MANAGER) - LOMACHENKO
Great fight. If both were in their prime, naturally the same weight, it’d be even money. They’re equally gifted in different areas.
But ‘Loma’ is younger, bigger and has the momentum whereas Rigo has had a stop-start career and I fear his time has passed.
Rigondeaux never fights, always boxes. He’s so superior to everyone he’s met with regard to skill set and natural ability. He’s such a hard, spiteful, accurate hitter, especially to the body.
But ‘Loma’ is that gifted, he’ll force Rigondeaux to fight at pace. He’ll get in close, constantly touch the body and force ‘Rigo’ to either open up and fight, or retreat to his shell. Either way, ‘Loma’ comes off best. I see him draining the Cuban and then overwhelming him.
JAMES DEGALE (IBF SUPER-MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION) - LOMACHENKO POINTS
It’s definitely going to be a hard, close competitive fight but, if you put me on the spot, I’ll side with Lomachenko on points. He’s just unbelievably talented.
TUNDE AJAYI (TRAINER) - RIGONDEAUX
You’ve got two A class thinkers here but I’m on Rigondeaux, all day long. I can’t believe so many are counting him out.
Joseph Agbeko (ex two time IBF bantam champion) told me Rigondeaux punches brutally hard. ‘Loma’ hasn’t been in with anyone with that type of power. ‘Rigo’ is definitely the puncher in this fight. When those Cubans strike, they’re vicious with the back hand. ‘Loma’ will have a fear factor he’s not faced before.
Weight won’t be an issue. It’ll be a technical chess match with both as fleet footed as the other. Lomachenko already has one loss on his record and will lose again.
LEE SELBY (IBF FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPION) - LOMACHENKO
Now this is a proper boxing match with lots of real skill on display. Can’t wait.
Lomachenko wins for me; too young, too fresh and, especially, too big. A good big fighter beats a good little fighter and Lomachenko could even stop him.
CARL FRAMPTON (EX TWO WEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION) - LOMACHENKO STOPPAGE
They’re the two most skilled fighters on the planet. I’m really looking forward to it. It’ll always be an exciting fight when Lomachenko is involved.
Rigondeaux is quality - extremely accurate – but doesn’t throw enough leather so I go with Lomachenko to win. He’s too big and throws too many punches. ‘Rigo’ will try to slow it down but ‘Loma’, my favourite fighter, won’t allow that. I see him winning by stoppage somewhere around the eighth or ninth.
MARK HEFFRON (SUPER-MIDDLEWEIGHT PROSPECT) - RIGONDEAUX
"My prediction is Rigondeaux beats Lomachenko. He's too good for him!"
JAMIE MOORE (TRAINER) - LOMACHENKO
They’re very evenly matched but I swing to ‘Loma’ because he’s bigger and ‘Rigo’ is older. ‘Rigo’ is a master at waiting for opponents to make mistakes but Lomachenko doesn’t make many. He attacks from angles rather than straight lines. ‘Loma’s’ the more aggressive, more likely to put his foot on the gas and go for it.
Rigondeaux’s been on the floor a few times before and could find himself on the back end of an arse beating.
JOSH WARRINGTON (MANDATORY IBF FEATHERWEIGHT CHALLENGER) - LOMACHENKO POINTS
This is Fight of the Year for the connoisseurs who appreciate the technical skills; boxing in its purest form.
Rigondeaux is very patient on the back foot and has exceptional timing but I think Lomachenko will be too busy and too big physically. He has too much pace, too many angles and won’t let ‘Rigo’ catch his breath.
Several, including Nonito Donaire and (Hisashi) Amagasa, had him over but he doesn’t stand still long enough for ‘Loma’ to stop him. Vasyl on points.
RICKY HATTON (EX TWO WEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION) - LOMACHENKO POINTS
What a match up. No one has more ability than this pair. Both have got talent pouring out of their ears. It’s proper 50-50 and the only thing that makes me favour Lomachenko is that he’s naturally bigger and stronger.
They’re both safety first and could cancel the other out. ‘Loma’s’ the more likely to take a chance but Rigondeaux’s very, very good defensively so I’ll go Lomachenko on points. It’s with no degree of confidence.
ANTHONY YARDE (WORLD RATED LIGHT-HEAVYWEIGHT) - LOMACHENKO
It’s very hard to call, man. All of Lomachenko’s fight are relatively entertaining. Both have got great attributes and can win any fight on their best day.
Rigondeaux is the more experienced and very sharp. He might be able to catch Lomachenko and deliver the knockout blow. But he’s been dropped a number of times. I really don’t know who wins but, if you gave me 50p, I’d put it on Lomachenko.
FINAL SCORE: LOMACHENKO 11 RIGONDEAUX 3
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