As the big fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux nears this weekend on ESPN, Loma appeared on a conference call with promoter Bob Arum to discuss the fight. Lomachenko wasn't exactly shy about his expectations for a meeting between the two, two-time Olympic Gold medalists.
When asked about an a comment he made squashing Rigo, Loma responded:
"I said I am going to walk through him like a tank. They are two different things. I am going to walk through him like a tank and knock him out. They are two different impressions. I am like every single fighter – going into the ring I have in my mind ‘finish the bout before all the rounds are over and to get the victory before that. There is a good possibility that the fight will end before the twelfth round. I am not promising to knock him out but I am promising to squash him."
Rigo, who caught wind of the comments on social media, appeared to take pleasure in Loma's sentiment and posted this:
Good. If he doesn’t do that I hope you hold him accountable— Guillermo Rigondeaux (@RigoElChacal305) December 5, 2017
Clearly Rigo would prefer to have the onus on Lomachenko to make the fight, as he's a defensively-oriented counter puncher who thrives off his opponents' attack. But Loma's comments echo the sentiment of fans who believe he'll just too big for Rigo and walk through him. And that's got me thinking about the fight from a stylistic point of view.
Even if Loma is a much noticeably larger fight than Rigo in the ring, he doesn't really fight in a style where he imposes his physicality on an opponent anyway. Yes, he probes with a lot of touching shots while setting up the big ones which follow, but he's not some pressure fighter that comes forward and leans, pushes, and wears on his opponent with his weight.
That's mainly why I believe the technical aspect of this match-up between the two master craftsmen will outweigh — pun intended — any size difference in determining the outcome. Rigondeaux will need to interrupt Lomachenko's probing rhythm by landing hard counter shots while being careful not to fall into Lomacheko's traps along the way.
Can Rigo do that often enough to keep Loma from piling up the points with his more free-flowing punching style? That question, for me, determines the fight right there. From what we've seen Rigo is more likely to hit the deck in an exchange, so it'll be important for him to put on that technical masterpiece he expects.
What one thing, for you, will make the biggest difference in the fight?