We are less than one week away from one of the most highly-anticipated pure boxing matches of the past three years. Two two-time Olympic gold medalists will face off for the first time professionally, at the highest level, in a world championship fight.
On Saturday, December 9 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, the fight that many of us have been clamoring for for nearly three years is finally taking place as Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) and Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs) battle it out at 130 pounds.
The bout, which is scheduled for 12 rounds, will be televised live on ESPN at 9:00 pm, EST / 6:00 pm, PST. The entire card will stream live on the Watch ESPN App beginning at 7:30 pm, EST / 4:30 pm, PST.
Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux is a fascinating matchup, pitting the younger, more aggressive Lomachenko against one of the most technically gifted and defensively impenetrable boxers of this generation in Rigondeaux.
The current odds skew heavily in favor of Lomachenko according to MyTopSportsbooks.com (-550 vs +375 for Rigondeaux), partly because Rigo is moving up from Super Bantamweight (122 pounds) to Super Featherweight (130 pounds), and partly because the Cuban is now 37 years old–compared to 29 for Lomachenko.
“I went up to 130 because it was the only way I could get this fight made,” said Rigondeau during a recent media conference call. “I would rather it have been at a lower weight, but I want to show the world that I can do it by moving up two weight classes.”
The eight-pound jump is undoubtedly massive, but the odds are nonetheless underestimating Rigondeaux. He is undefeated through 18 professional fights, and has won by stoppage or unanimous decision in all but one (including each of the last 10).
Rigondeaux has stated that the jump up in weigh has not hurt him in the speed or power department either–something that people will want to see for themselves.
“Moving up has had no negative effect whatsoever on my speed or power,” said Rigondeaux.
The Cuban boxer is incredibly hard to hit and loves to counter-punch, which matches up well against Lomachenko’s attacking style.
While Lomachenko himself has stated that Rigondeaux will have to come forward to have a chance to win, he doesn’t feel the Cuban will actually do that.
“I don’t think he’s going to be doing that,” said Lomachenko. “He has never done that in his whole career. When he goes forward he falls down in the ring. I don’t think he’s going to be doing that.”
While many people are expecting a high-level chess match, Lomachenko is promising to handle Rigondeaux fairly easily and possibly even stop him.
“There is a good possibility that the fight will end before the 12th round,” said Lomachenko. “I am not promising to knock him out but I am promising to squash him.”