As we close in on the final days before this weekend’s fight between two top pound-for-pound fighters, Guillermo Rigondeaux took some time to talk to The Undefeated about his upbringing in Cuba, people labeling him as boring, and, of course, his big fight against Vasyl Lomachenko on Saturday.
Rigo began by talking about the life he left behind in Cuba, a subject he’d much rather skirt as he says he did what he had to do by defecting to the United States and has since lived with the consequences. In doing so Rigo left behind seven brothers, a son, and a step-son from his ex-wife, who all stll live on the island.
After describing his defection and his motivations behind it, the Cuban champion also recounts some of the issues he’s encountered in his professional career, notably the ‘boring’ label he hasn’t been able to escape, despite the dominance of his performances in the ring.
“People who say that [my style is boring] have never stepped foot in a ring before and have never taken a shot in the head. Boxing is an art form. Hit your opponent and make sure they don’t hit you. That’s what boxing is supposed to be.”
Rigo goes on to liken his defensively-oriented style to that of Floyd Mayweather, who is the biggest star in the sport by a healthy margin, and says he’d be reaping the same praise Mayweather has if he had grown up in the States and spoke fluent English. But he didn’t, and he doesn’t, so he fully understands the marketability deck is stacked against him in that regard.
Yet = in this next outing Rigondeaux has the chance (which might be his last) to make his stature in the sport undeniable as he moves up two weight classes to challenge Vasyl Lomachenko at 130lbs — a weight class he’s never even sniffed before. In that weight class reigns Lomachenko, a champion and super-talent, one that promoter Bob Arum says he hasn’t seen since Muhammad Ali.
“People think I’m crazy because I took on this fight. I moved up two weight classes because nobody in my weight class wants to fight me. I guess I can’t blame them. He [Lomachenko] says he’s going to kick my a–. I just laugh that off. Does he think he has four hands? He has two just like me. He’s a two-time Olympic gold medalist? Great! So am I. We’ll see what he’s really made of on Dec. 9th.
“I was born a champion. I’m a talent. He just has desire. Wait until I knock him upside the head and we’ll see what he’s got.”
Rigondeaux wanted this fight badly, and he’s going to get exactly what he asked for: the chance to prove his worth the world over, once and for all.