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PICK EM FRIDAY | VASYL LOMACHENKO VS. GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX

Paul J Daley – Rigondeaux Via Majority Decision – Bob Arum will tell you that he wanted the fight all along, that would be a lie, this fight has come about because the New Media as Guillermo Rigondeaux put it has made it happen, starting a fire which ignited the interest of the fight fans leaving no option but for Vasyl Lomachenko to agree to the fight.

The contest will be fought at the 130 Pound limit which I have to admit I would have liked at a catchweight, I’m not an advocate for catchweight’s, but in this instance, it would have given the fight a fair footing. As it stands Guillermo Rigondeaux will have to move up two weight divisions to face the man widely recognised as the sports Pound 4 Pound best.

The fight has a lot of intangibles, with a great backstory of both men coming through the Amateur ranks as two of the greatest that have ever competed, both are two time World and Olympic Champions with close to 1000 contest between them and only a couple of handful of losses.

Due to the ignorance of Top Rank and the TV Networks, meant that Rigondeaux was never the crossover star that they had envisaged, leaving a sour taste in the mouth as they pulled the plug on the Cuban maestro. Since that time Rigo has found big fights hard to come by with a feeling of too much risk with a low reward kind of scenario attached the sigma, this was in part due to his one-sided annihilation of Nonito Donaire who at the time was being marketed as the second coming of Manny Pacquiao, scaring off opposition by exhibiting extreme levels of skill, the uneducated believing his style to be boring.

Lomachenko, on the other hand, has had no such issues, his marketability is off the charts with TV stations lapping up everything with a want more attitude. So far apart from his blip to Orlando Salido, he has looked faultless, capturing titles in two weight classes all the time remaining in his comfort zone, beating notable champions all the while making it look effortless.

Both have entertained the purist in me, don’t get me wrong, I like a toe to toe exchange as much as anyone but for me, the beating heart is the technicality which these two bring at a premium.

Lomachenko holds the advantages in the bout, two weight classes north from where Rigondeaux competes he is also the more active of the two. He is entering the prime years of his professional career which cannot be said of Rigondeaux, 37 so the cards are indeed stacked against the Cuban, nevertheless, he knows the task at hand, meeting it head on knowing that a win will once more bring him to the forefront of fight fans consensus, drastic times call for drastic measures to which their arent many as bold as this attempt.

So Who Wins? the Cobra or the Mongoose? A bite from Lomachenko could render Rigondeaux’s efforts void but the Mongoose (Rigo) is a crafty technician with still a few tricks up his sleeve, his elusive nature, shot selection (primarily a jarring left hand) as well as a reach advantage will see out the contest, possibly by a majority verdict.

I love both of these fighters as most of you know but please forgive my bias in my overall pick as it could be a case of my heart ruling my head.

Dean Berks – Lomachenko Via Decision – This fight is a purists dream. Both men have conducted themselves with such class, particularly Rigondeaux, which is exactly what this match-up is about.

Both possess such incredible skill and ring generalship, although it’s fair to say that Rigondeaux should possibly have achieved more than he already has. Lomachenko is soaring like a rocket right now and finding someone to test him, let alone beat him, is becoming difficult.

In Rigondeaux though, they have found that man. They are so evenly matched that the only thing that seems to be separating them is size. And for me, this could be the decider. Lomachenko is not a concussive puncher, but against Rigondeaux he doesn’t have to be as the Cuban can be occasionally caught and knocked down. And I can see that happening again here. Although whether Lomachenko can keep him down is another thing.

I’m picking Loma on a tight points decision, courtesy of a knockdown or two. But expect him to be pushed and tested all the way.

Steve Haigh – Lomachenko Via Decision – From fans point its great that this fight is actually happening, unlike many potential elite matchups that never materialised from years gone by.

However, the big problem is weight.

130lbs is the limit but from what I understand Lomachenko can be as heavy as 10st on the night.

Guillermo Rigondeaux can double up on his Christmas lunch a fortnight early and still comfortably make weight.

In an ideal scenario, the fight takes place at 126lbs but it is what it is so we make the best of it.

I feel footwork is key to both men and both men possess this of the highest order.

The Cuban has to maintain range and set up traps with ultimate stealth in order to pick up points on the counter from Lomachenko.Allowing the Ukranian on the inside to unload and move onto the flanks of Rigondeaux is a big no due to his size presence and skill plus a shootout must also be avoided.

Both are masters of using the angles and it could be a brilliant display of ability or if both show too much respect a big anticlimax

I feel Rigo has enough capability to last the course but must play matador and bag points wherever he can.Stealth and as mentioned footwork is key, This is a chess match of the highest order and I favour Lomachenko by decision but having said that I’d never dismiss Guillermo Rigondeaux against anyone.

Lee Thornton – Lomachenko Via Decision – Vasyl Lomachenko vs Guillermo Rigondeaux is quite possibly the two most highly skilled boxers facing off against each other in many years.

Rigondeaux the avoided Cuban boxer will be moving up in weight for this fight he will be looking to counterpunch and frustrate Lomachenko.

Many people are picking the highly skilled Rigondeaux to upset Lomachenko. When looking at this fight I believe Lomanchenko will win a UD due to his size advantage along with his activity level.

Lomanchenko also can close distance very quickly and sometimes Rigondeaux stays in the pocket on his back foot to long and has been dropped a few times because of that tactic.

Lomanchenko must be prepared to not step to his right constantly like he loves to do. Because he will be walking towards Rigondeaux’s vicious straight left hand.

Rigondeaux is outstanding but I feel he has finally met his match vs Vasyl. I believe Lomanchenkos size, offensive angles and variety of punches along with activity will gain him a tough UD victory.

If Lomanchenko can get inside and back up Rigondeaux consistently he may even be able to win via late stoppage. Of course, Rigondeaux can easily win this fight as well with his superior accuracy and defence. Early on Rigondeaux’s counter punching will be critical. My final thoughts Lomanchenko via UD vs the legendary Cuban Rigondeaux.

Richard Lewis – Rigondeaux Via Decision – Vasyl Lomachenko v Guillermo Rigondeaux, WOW. The year 2017 will go down in Boxing history as bringing us some of the biggest and best Boxing matchups in recent years amongst its many weight categories, but what better way to end the year than with this battle of skills between two classy operators and former amateur stars and Olympic Gold medalists.

How this fight will pan out on the night is anyone’s guess with both men big punchers and capable of delivering that KO blow to one another, but let’s not forget both have an arsenal of skills and ability to fight many different ways. Lomachenko often being referred to as something from the Matrix due to his in-ring ability and movement in being able to avoid punches coming his way, whilst Rigondeaux is an effective counterpuncher who likes to fight at distance and carries power in both hands.

Vasyl Lomachenko goes in as the favourite on the night with the Super-Featherweight limit being the fight weight agreed on, meaning Guillermo Rigondeaux has had to move up two weight categories from his usual Super-Bantamweight level to make it happen. Despite this, I still feel that the Cuban warrior will have enough power and ability to cause the Ukrainian superstar problems and at the end of a tough twelve rounds take a close points decision on the judge’s scorecards.

Sam Constantinou Coulter – Rigondeaux Via Decision – Rigondeaux versus Lomachenko is a boxing purists dream. Two truly sensationally technically gifted boxers facing off in a contest full of intrigue and debate.

Both men are Olympic champions and held truly remarkable amateur records.

As professionals both fighters have often looked leagues above their opponents in terms of class and made other top level fighters look rather average.

Guillermo Rigondeaux is a defensive genius with incredible evasive movement and pinpoint accuracy.

He frustrates opponents by rendering near useless from an offensive standpoint.

Vasyl Lomachenko is a master of angles and landing unusual shots from positions that opponents simply cannot predict.

He is hard to hit and lands countless shots on his opponents.

In terms of matching the two together stylistically, a strategic, chess-like fight is expected.

Both men can cause the other problems but one major factor could play into Lomachenko’s hands. Rigondeaux is being made to move up two weight divisions to take the fight.

He will be the naturally much smaller man and could be worn by Lomachenko.

Rigondeaux is, however, a technical genius and if anyone can make the weight disparity look like a non-entity then it is him.

When it comes to predicting a winner in this contest it is extremely hard. Both are truly world class boxers with legitimate arguments being made for either man to walk away victorious.

When push comes to shove I edge in favour of Guillermo Rigondeaux due to his defensive prowess and punch accuracy.

Rob Day – Undecided – Two southpaw pound-for-pound boxers meet in New York on Saturday. The boxing World will stop to witness what will take place. This fight won’t pick up the PPV numbers of casual fans but for the hardcore followers of the sport, it’s a huge fight.

Vasyl Lomachenko, 29, defends his WBO World Super Featherweight Title against the King of the Super Bantamweight division Guillermo Rigondeaux, 37.The Cuban is knocking on in boxing years and while magnificent in the ring, he’s found it hard to get regular fights. Inactivity never seems to faze him and he is always in superb shape. His reflexes, defensive movement and explosive power make him a formidable threat to any boxer near his weight class.

The Ukrainian boxer hasn’t been a professional long, since 2013, though has an extensive amateur background. Rigondeaux, despite only 17 fights, has that amateur pedigree.

The skillsets of the two are phenomenal, it’s kinda like a duel between two wizards. Loma has the advantages of height, weight and youth though the Cuban has fought against those disadvantages several times. Rigondeaux is going to need to be at his absolute focused best like he was against Nonito Donaire. He was captivating and truly excellent against the Filipino. Loma has been beating a string of World class puncher/sluggers, of late, so, will face a different puzzle against Rigo. He has overcome the boxing talents of Gary Russell Jnr., so knows what it is like to beat a top talent.

It’ll be interesting to see Lomachenko hitting thin air, for a change, and we’ll see if he gets frustrated or is too relentless. Rigo has the ability to drop and hurt any opponent, hopefully, he isn’t forced into being too defensive. Rigondeaux will be set the challenge of facing a man with a similar ability to his own. Can the fox be out-foxed?

Everyone seems to be picking Lomachenko but plenty rooting for Rigondeaux. My head tells me that Lomachenko has all the size advantages but I believe Rigondeaux is a very live underdog. I’m sitting on the fence and I’m gonna enjoy the magic from up there. Team Rigo.

Jonathan Harris – Lomachenko Via Decision – Vasyl lomachenko v Guilermo Rigondeaux, the amateur legends who moulded into artists of the professional game.

A breakdown of this fight has been possibly one of the hardest predictions I have had the privilege of puzzling together since I fell in love with the sport, the most technical match up that has maybe ever graced the squared circle. Both fighters have great arguments as to why they can take the win but I personally believe Lomachenko has the upper glove with a few more boxes ticked than his opponent Rigondeaux.

The Ukrainian has the great guardian of age at his side, The size advantage and of course a very rare set of skills that is almost impossible to prepare for through sparring because of his unique style and work rate that not many other fighters can mimic.

Let’s not write off the fellow Olympian too soon though, Rigondeaux also has his arsenal that he is ready to bring to the table, The Cuban is not by any means daunted by the task at hand, he also has a set of skills and power that is ready to overrule his opponent.

Heavy hands that have been repetitively shown to cause damage, his speed and agility that causes frustration to his opponents when it seems sometimes his defence cannot be penetrated. Also you can never underestimate a man that has the hunger that Rigondeaux has inside him, but the most saddening part of this fight is that a Win for Rigo would be more damaging to his career than a loss, now that is just personal opinion but he is already avoided by his divisions best fighters, beating Lomachenko who at the moment is highly ranked in the p4p list, 2 weight classes above his normal fighting weight isn’t going to get fighters queing up outside his dressing room ready to fight him, but win or lose this fight is the fight at hand for him and Lomachenko is not going to allow him to relax and sit back comfortable during the fight which will bring out the best of the Cuban and up his work rate significantly,It’s difficult to predict and my mind still hasn’t distinguished the path that the fight will go but this is how I see it thus far maybe more of fantasy rather than reality but hey that’s the magic of boxing.

As usual fights go it will start off pretty slow, both men feeling each other out with sharp jabs keeping each other at bay trying to score points with minimum risk, each round will step up in activity with tremendous counter punching from both men, then as we go into the later rounds it will be a constant stream of agility, counter punches and footwork made from boxing gods! This isn’t going to be a slug out, this will be a chess match, a matter of opportunists who can pick the best shots and counter more proficiently.

I have to go for Lomachenko with a close but clear UD points decision just through pure work rate and his angles that I think may just cut off Rigondeaux from his normal rhythm. I hope both men turn up on the night ready for the fight of their lives and I pray that the fighter who gets granted the win deserves the win, the sport can not afford to take any more damage through corrupt scorecards in these huge fights, best of luck to two of my favourite fighters!

Craig Morgan – Rigondeaux Via Points – Lomachenko v Rigondeaux, a fight between two supremely talented boxers, a matchup for the boxing purists. A fight I’ve been looking forward to since it was first rumoured to be taking place.

This fight should have been scattered all over every boxing website and it’s definitely been under-promoted, which I just cannot understand why.

Both with outstanding amateur records and professional world championships titles. Rigo at 122lbs, Loma at 126 & 130lbs. Rigo is moving up by two weight classes, having conceded a lot of natural size & strength to get the fight signed, which he deserves a lot of credit for.

Rigo is the type of fighter that is able to nullify his opponent’s strengths, with his razor sharp reflexes and defensive prowess. Loma, on the other hand, picks apart his opponent’s strengths and adapts to whatever style is needed in the situation he’s presented with.

Loma is the younger and naturally bigger man, which are big advantages in most fights but I don’t feel weight will be an issue in this fight.

On paper, Loma is the favourite but Rigo is undefeated as a professional and will be looking to put on a master class performance to edge out a points win. Their styles may not gel too well because each man’s skills may cancel out the other’s.

Rigo hasn’t been active but he’s always in the gym and still looks fresh at 37 years old. Loma has all the momentum and form of a fighter with full confidence in his ability, the angles he can put himself in are unparalleled.

I’ve been back and forth with my thoughts on the outcome of this fight but my gut instinct says that Rigo will pull off the upset win in a close points decision.

Barbara Pinnella – Lomachenko Via KO 7 – This matchup between Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux should be a great fight. There are so many contrasts between these two men that make it especially interesting. It is also one that will most certainly determine who is will become the new pound-for-pound king.

Lomachenko is a come forward, pressure fighter. Rigondeaux is a counter-puncher who waits for his moment to move in then jumps out again. But the style of Loma will almost certainly not allow Rigo to wait, but rather make it necessary for Guillermo to fight all the way through. That could prove to be his undoing.

Rigo has more fights, 17, and no losses. Loma has had 10 fights and lost one, but that was to the tough Orlando Salido and was four years ago. Both men have won two Olympic gold medals, and both are southpaws. Vasyl is younger, but certainly, Rigo does not look at all shopworn.

He may after this fight, however. I feel that Lomachenko will keep the pressure on Rigondeaux, tire him, and then move in for the kill. I do not feel the fight will go the distance but will be a good one for as long as it lasts.

I've been in the boxing industry for over 16 years but been a fan for almost double that figure. I'm the proud owner of TopClassBoxing which continues to go from strength to strength as we strive to give fight fans a voice to be heard amongst the community. I've also had several articles published by reputable magazines and you can usually catch me around ringside.

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