Monday, 09 October 2017 22:38

Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux prediction: Why size won't matter

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They are arguably the two best technicians in boxing and undisputably two of the sport's best, pound for pound.

(Image courtesy of Round by Round Boxing)

WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KO) and WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KO).

To win a gold medal in boxing in the Olympics is a monumental achievement; And Rigondeaux and Lomachenko have done it TWICE. As two-time Olympic Gold medalists, they were two of the best, most accomplished fighters in the entire history of amateur boxing.

"I know Rigo's not scintillating or anything like that, but I would love to see him match all those skills with a guy who's also very skillful in Lomachenko," famed trainer and commentator Teddy Atlas told in August 2017.

"Rigo is a great counter puncher, a great body puncher, a great defensive fighter...I know he doesn't fight enough, and no one knows how old he really is, but to me it's the most interesting match-up you could make for either fighter at this time."

... However, some assert the bout match-up might be compromised because Rigondeaux is moving up two weight classes (8 pounds) to face his naturally larger Ukrainian foe. As a result, some think it will be a risky endeavor for the Cuban.

And while 8 pounds might not seem like a lot, it's considerable weight for a 126-pound fighter.

How will Rigo fair against a taller, thicker opponent whose skills, reach and experience are comparable to his own?

"I think the fight at 130-pounds against Lomachenko is not as crazy as everyone thinks," Pedro Diaz, Rigo's trainer, told Mundo Boxing.

And Diaz proceeded to make a very good point:

"If you look, you will see that Lomachenko is only 4 cm taller than Rigondeaux, but the scope of Guillermo's arms is 3 cm longer than that of Vasyl."

Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux
December 9, 2017
Madison Square Garden
New York City

Broadcast: ESPN
Division: Super featherweight
Title: WBO (Lomachenko defending)

"Rigondeaux has a punch and he is very technical, and also fast. We do not underestimate the merits of Lomachenko. He is an excellent boxer, a wonderful opponent and has a wonderful team. But it was the same thing with Nonito [Donaire]."

"When [Donaire] fought with Rigondeaux, he weighed [142 when he entered the ring], Flores [was 141]. So with Lomachenko at 130, despite the fact that the Ukrainian does not go to the fight with [such a big weight or size advantage], we should get a great fight."

How quickly we forget Rigo's dismantling of a presumably rangier and very dangerous Nonito Donaire? And yes, Nonito had a lot of pop, even flooring Rigondeaux late in the fight. But while Donaire's punch was comparable - or better - than Lomachenko's is today, Nonito didn't possess the speed and level of craft of Lomachenko.

Point: Diaz makes a sound argument, using a few of Rigondeaux's previous opponents and his slight reach advantage as examples to support his claim.

Counterpoint: Size wouldn't matter in a fight between Rigondeaux and any 'normal' belt holder at 130 lbs. However, size does matter when that naturally bigger opponent is as supremely skilled and athletically gifted as Lomachenko. And don't forget, Rigo won't enjoy the considerable reach advantage he's accustomed to.

Never mind the size difference, Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux is one of the best match-ups in boxing.

Lee Cleveland

Lee is Managing Editor of, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.