By Elisinio Castillo
Hardcore boxing fans are counting down the days before world champions Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs) and Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) step in the ring with each other.
The fight will mark a historic battle with two amateur legends who are both two-time Olympic gold medal winners.
Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux will take place on December 9th from The Theater in Madison Square Garden in New York City. The contest will headline a televised card on ESPN.
Rigondeaux is taking a big risk in the fight.
He is currently the WBA's super bantamweight world champion, but he's moving up by two weight divisions, eight whole pounds, to challenge Lomachenko for the WBO super featherweight title.
Many believe it's a crazy move by the talented Cuban - but his trainer Pedro Diaz believes the weight and size won't save Lomachenko from tasting his second defeat.
He says everyone made the same statements when Rigondeaux fought, and beat, a much bigger and heavier Nonito Donaire several years ago. Diaz points out that Lomachenko does not put on a lot of weight between the weigh-in and the night of the fight - unlike Donaire and other past Rigondeaux opponents.
"Standing behind Rigondeaux is his team. In his last fight against Moises Flores, [Rigondeaux] weighed 126.4 pounds [when he entered the ring], but his skills allowed him to overwhelm the apparent physical superiority of the opponent. I think the fight at 130-pounds against Lomachenko is not as crazy as everyone thinks," Diaz told Mundo Boxing.
"If you look, you will see that Lomachenko is only 4 cm taller than Rigondeaux, but the scope of Guillermo's arms is 3 cm longer than that of Vasyl. Rigondeaux has a punch and he is very technical, and also fast. We do not underestimate the merits of Lomachenko. He is an excellent boxer, a wonderful opponent and has a wonderful team. But it was the same thing with Nonito [Donaire].
"When [Donaire] fought with Rigondeaux, he weighed [142 when he entered the ring], Flores [was 141]. So with Lomachenko at 130, despite the fact that the Ukrainian does not go to the fight with [such a big weight or size advantage], we should get a great fight. This will be a fight that people want to see. For the first time in the history of professional boxing, you have two-time Olympic champions fighting against each other."