Thursday, December 7, 2017

Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux

Madison Square Garden, New York, Dec. 9
By Peter Lim

The good big man defeats the good little man in this excellent showdown, a historical first in the sport between a pair of two-time Olympic gold medalists. As savvy and defensively flawless as Rigondeaux is, his eight-pound climb up two weight divisions to 130 will be too much of a size disadvantage to overcome against a fighter of Lomachenko’s caliber. Rigondeaux was a small 122 to begin with, and Lomachenko will probably move on to 135, maybe even 140, before his career is over.
Lomachenko’s victories against Gary Russell Jr. and Nicholas Walters provide somewhat of a harbinger to how this fight will unfurl. Like Rigondeaux, Russell was a slick, counter-punching southpaw and Walters a crude right-handed version of the Cuban. Lomachenko had little trouble dealing with both opponents’ style.

The first half of the fight will be competitive with Lomachenko pressing the action with his signature high-volume punches and Rigondeaux countering with accuracy and timing. But Lomachenko’s punches, especially his body shots, will take more of a toll on Rigondeaux than vice versa. As Rigondeaux fades, Lomachenko ups his punch output, dominating the middle and late rounds to win a comfortable decision.

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