It’s a match up between two of the greatest technicians of this generation. A fight between the young fighter who has nothing but hunger to cement himself in boxing history and the more experienced fighter, anxious to prove that he is truly the best and should be treated as such.
On Saturday, December 9, 2017, Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KO) will meet Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KO) at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in a bout that will truly show who is the best in the world at Super Featherweight.
Lomachenko comes in as a tight favorite in the matchup, but when these two fighters clash, nobody truly knows what is going to happen. In order to give Hi-Tech the best chance of victory in the fight, he must follow these three key points.
1. Don’t Get Baited
Guillermo Rigondeaux has deceptive power and blazing speed, and he knows just how to use it. Rigondeaux will throw tons of “micro-punches,” where he moves his hands ever so slightly, solely to distract the fighter, making them unsure of when he will throw a legitimate punch.
The micro-punches he throws will often coax his opponent into stepping forward and beginning an attack, only to immediately get caught with a destructive left hook and forced back as he attacks from multiple different angles.
Rigo does this against every opponents he has faced, from Juan Noriega to Nonito Donaire, and he will most definitely be doing the same thing against Loma.
In order for Vasyl Lomachenko to avoid getting caught like this, he must use his arsenal of fakes and changing of angles to get inside Rigondeaux’s hook.
2. Stay Unpredictable
One thing that you notice after watching Guillermo Rigondeaux fight is that everything is calculated. Rigondeaux takes zero risks–every move he makes is meticulously planned in the heat of the moment, and he executes the plan with striking efficiency.
If Vasyl Lomachenko is to combat Rigondeaux’s on the fly calculations, he must not become predictable. If Rigo catches onto a pattern that Lomachenko falls into, Rigondeaux will make him pay for it severely.
In order to avoid staying predictable, Loma must constantly attack from different angles, confusing Rigondeaux and making him slightly frustrated. If Rigo becomes frustrated, he may begin to take more risks in his attack, leaving him exposed.
3. Mix the Pressure
Nonito Donaire unarguably gave Guillermo Rigondeaux the biggest challenge he faced by any fighter by far, even dropping Rigo once in the 10th round.
The way Donaire did this was by constantly matching Rigondeaux’s attacks and even out working him at times. Unfortunately for Donaire, his constant pressure often left him open to Rigondeaux’s counter attacks, which were what ultimaely led to his defeat.
If Vasyl Lomachenko wants to maximize his chances of success, he must balance attack and defense, countering his way through Rigo’s guard and then piling on pressure, step back and repeat.
If Lomachenko can keep Rigondeaux on his toes and constantly switch up his angles, pressure and rhythm, Hi-Tech will have a far better chance of defeating Guillermo Rigondeaux and climbing the pound for pound list.
Header photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank