On Saturday, December 9, 2017, Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) takes on Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs) in a highly-anticipated matchup between two of the most highly skilled technicians in all of boxing.
It will be the first time in boxing history that two two-time Olympic gold medal winners will square off as professionals.
Many people believed that after years of back-and-forth talk, that the possibilities of this fight actually happening were long gone. People pointed at promotional issues, size difference, age and many more factors.
But here we are, merely days away from the ultimate pugilistic chess match.
The bout will take place at the The Theater at Madison Square Garden with the telecast kicking off at 9:00 pm, EST / 6:00 pm, PST and stream live on the ESPN App, beginning at 7:30 pm, EST / 4:30 pm, PST.
Round By Round Boxing Staff Predictions - 2020
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Liam Brady, Graphic Designer/Staff Writer
It may not be for the bloodthirsty, but Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux is a fantastic, intriguing fight.
As for the winner, size matters most of the time, so I am going with Lomachenko via late stoppage. Both are technically outstanding, that’s clear as day; but I think Lomachenko is a lot more proactive with his movement and offense.
Conversely, Rigondeaux is not flat footed, as such, but he is very patient, and is not as dynamic on his feet. Although Rigo is slick, this, I believe, makes him more of an open target than Lomachenko, who is always on the move and mixing his attacks–making him harder to read, as well as harder to land a clean punch on.
Overall, I see it being an impasse at first due to the skill level, but then I expect Lomachenko to start breaking free and landing cleaner as time goes on, due to being more proactive with his movement and attacks; not to mention he is also younger, fresher and obviously proven at 130 pounds.
Milo Taibi, Staff Writer
While there’s little doubt he’ll be the greatest test Vasyl Lomachenko’s ever faced, Guillermo Rigondeaux’s age and relative inactivity over the last few years are concerning.
It likely won’t be a showcase performance from Loma, but I see him grinding out a decision en route to a 3-0 2017 campaign.
Brandon Glass, Staff Writer
Guillermo Rigondeaux and Vasyl Lomachenko both share a legendary amateur pedigree, both are two time Olympic gold medalists, and both won world titles at before reaching a double digit number of fights on their records in the pros.
Lomachenko is an amazing talent. A master class fighter who has dazzling hand speed, brilliant footwork, and an aggressive style that pleases fans. He can drop a fighter with either hand, though I don’t attribute it to sheer power. Not enough can be said about how incredible his performances have been. Hell, I still can’t believe he beat Gary Russell Jr.
However, I struggle with giving the Ukrainian the nod over Rigondeaux, a master class boxer in his own right.
Rigondeaux has been avoided like the plague by promoters and fighters alike in boxing. He’s a deadly counter puncher with the timing and patience of his predatory namesake, that dramatically changed the arc of a few of his opponents’ careers for the worse.
Only having had five pro fights since 2013, a year which saw him normalize former four weight world champion, Nonito Donaire, and neutralize the volume punching former two time champion, Joseph Agbeko, Rigondeaux is probably thought by Lomachenko’s handlers to be ripe for a loss.
In addition to the chunks of inactivity, Rigondeaux is 37 years old–ancient by pro sports standards–and is the much smaller man in this matchup.
Even with Rigondeaux jumping up two weight classes and giving up almost every conceivable advantage, I still think he wins in this matchup. While Rigondeaux has been dropped by slower and lesser skilled opponents than Lomachenko, one well timed counter from Rigondeaux can end the fight or at the least, force his opponent to rethink his entire strategy.
And also the last time the Cuban was dropped, he got up and retaliated with a vicious attack breaking the opponent’s jaw. At worst he could neutralize Lomachenko to the point that many would say the fight was boring. On the other hand, Rigondeaux could be overmatched and dominated Lomanchenko. Either way, Christmas is coming early for boxing fans.
Mike Burnell, Staff Writer
This clash of the (mini) Titans between Vasyl “High Tech” Lomachenko and Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux that will take place this weekend is what is right with boxing.
The incredible collective skill that will be in the ring Saturday has not escaped boxing heads as evidenced by the buzz surrounding this fight. It features two pound-for-pound combatants with a combined total of just 27 professional fights.
The Cuban southpaw Rigondeaux, frustrated by inability to land a big fight, is ascending two weight classes to take on arguably the only man on the planet who can rival his technical proficiency, fellow southpaw Lomachenko.
This is one of the most truly intriguing matchups in years and one can envision each fighter processing the others style reminiscent of The DaVinci Code.
There are a number of different ways that this can unfold and is a pugilistic purist’s wet dream. Old sayings become old sayings for a reason and I believe in this case a good big man beats a good little man is the most likely to ring true with Lomachenko emerging with a decision win.
Vince Minnick, Staff Writer
Roy Jones Jr. calls this contest “on paper, the greatest professional fight that has ever been made.” It’s hard to argue with his assessment. It’s difficult to get top pound-for-pound fighters to face off, and even harder to get Olympic medalists to fight.
On Saturday we get to see perhaps the two most accomplished amatuer fighters of all time, meet in the ring. This fight gives me the Rocky Balboa vs. Clubber Lang feel. Lomachenko has that mainstream push behind him; everyone is high on his ability. Despite also having two gold medals to his name, Rigondeaux is the dark horse, and considering his accomplishments, he’s being disrespected.
Loma is the considerable favorite in Vegas (-390), but the boxing community’s opinion is split almost evenly. Rigondeaux will have to make this a war. He has to hurt Loma early in the fight. He has to establish momentum from jump.
The question is will Rigo carry his knockout power up from 122 to 130 pounds?
Not likely and he will have his hands full with the best movement in boxing. Loma will turn on the gas and if a Japanese journeyman can put Rigo to the canvas, I expect Loma to as well. I think the matrix will fight his best fight in front of his largest audience to date. Do not miss this fight.
Lomachenko by ninth-round knockout.
Brianna Rodriguez, Reporter
I have Vasyl Lomachenko winning this fight.
Amber Williams, Photographer
Julio Sanchez, Photographer
Andrew Kang, Staff Writer
What a privilege it will be to watch a world title boxing match between arguably two of the top five best pound-for-pound fighters in the game right now! On paper, it may be the best matchup between two of the best boxers we have seen on a non PPV or premium cable channel in some 30 years. World champion and former Olympic gold medalist vs. another world champion and former Olympic gold medalist.
Both destined to become all-time greats. It doesn’t get any better than this!
With that said, does Vasyl Lomachenko finally get tested Saturday night? Or is he too big and fast for even the great Guillermo Rigondeaux to overcome? Will it become a test of will or will one prove to be clearly superior to the other?
This is a legacy fight for sure and few boxers today are as complete a boxer and have accomplished as much as Rigondeaux. But he will finally have met his match in Lomachenko, who is so exceptionally skilled in boxing, those that possess his talent level comes along once in a generation.
I don’t know if he has the power to end the fight or just win by comfortable decision, but Loma will dominant Rigo. He is too fast, too slick and just maybe too big as well.
Alex Burgos, Editor-in-Chief
At Round By Round Boxing, Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux has been at the forefront of our minds for years. The fight always makes our “12 Days of Boxing” wish list, although going into this year it seemed more farfetched than ever.
But boxing delivered in a huge way in 2017, and what a better way to close out the year than with this dream matchup.
While you can pick holes in certain aspects (Rigo moving up two weight classes for instance), we’ll definitely take this fight now instead of never.
Both men are ridiculously skilled and I expect there will be a feeling out process in the first couple of rounds where maybe a punch or two separates them.
But, as the old saying goes, a good big man beats a good little man. I think Lomachenko, being younger and more comfortable at a higher weight, will be the stronger of the two down the stretch and land the more telling blows against the defensive-master, Rigondeaux.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Rigo hits the deck, but in the end I think Loma earns a victor by a clear unanimous decision.