On December 9 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, two great fighters fought for the 130 pound Title in a classic match-up. Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux. The fight didn’t quite get the exposure it deserved but it was a great fight that would be the main event in any era. If you missed it you need to go and see it for yourself on you-tube. It was a masterful performance.
First let me set the scene. Both fighters are two-time Olympic Gold Medalists and had won multiple world championships. It was by the way, the first time two fighters with two Gold Medals fought each other for a professional title. Both had unmatched amateur careers. Lomachenko, from the Ukraine had a 396-1 record and Rigondeaux a product of Communist Cuba’s legendary Boxing program had a 463-12 record. After turning professional they both quickly rose in the rankings, beating the best and won titles in their respective divisions , additionally both are ranked in the pound-for-pound rankings as well. What made this fight so special is that they are head and shoulders above all other active fighters with the exception of Gennady G. Golovkin. Both are so dominating that few want to fight them or if they do they enter the ring and immediately realize they have no chance of winning.
On fight night, it was just another’s day work for Lomachenko who treated the great Cuban like he was just another opponent. The Ukrainian did have advantages going in, he was younger and the bigger man, but that wasn’t why he won, he won because he is the better fighter by mile. He won when Rigondeaux quit like Duran did thirty-seven years ago. Cuba’s pride and joy could do nothing with the man in front of him. The difference in those two performances is that the Duran-Leonard II fight was competitive for the first half of the fight and then Leonard danced around the ring, mugged and stuck his tongue out and Roberto Duran the killer just walked away, his pride hurt and legacy diminished. Lomachenko, on the other hand was the better fighter. He was right in his face all night and Rigondeaux couldn’t touch him, while Lomachenko touched him plenty, he out classed him, out punched him and made him quit on his stool to the shock of Rigo’s fans.
It was a great fight. Please don’t be fooled by the outcome. What we witnessed was an all-time great in his prime. I would put him in the top five or so all time in this writer’s opinion. The “Matrix” is just twenty-nine years old and there are a lot of great fights out there for him. It will be a pleasure following him as he builds his legacy. Boxing is having a renaissance, and Lomachenko is Michaelangelo.
Written by Al Iannacone Sr.