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Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux purses: Explaining the colossal difference

Lee Cleveland Updated
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In one of the most intriguing match-ups in boxing in the last 20 years, Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) face Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs) at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux will be broadcast on ESPN and at stake will be Lomachenko's WBO super featherweight title.

So, let's get right to it. How much money will they make?

Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux purses
According to BoxingNews24, Lomachenko will pocket a guaranteed $1.2 Million while the Cuban will only earn a guaranteed $400,000.


It's rare to see a fighter of Rigondeaux's pedigree on the low end of a lopsided purse.

Consider the fact Rigondeaux is the more accomplished pro, has a better record and has been a top 10 pound for pound fighter much longer. In fact, many have considered him the world's best fighter since 2013. Thus, shouldn't he earn more than his Ukrainian foe?

Not necessarily (Although the purse difference is quite extreme).

I would have expected Loma to get $950,000 to Rigo's $650,000. But regardless, although Rigondeaux is better credentialed and has been around longer, Vasyl is more in demand these days, will be the defending champion tonight and has more options than his opponent.

Hence, Rigondeaux needs Vasyl more than Vasyl needs Rigondeaux.
 No other big name wants to fight Rigo.

Also despite being scintillating at times, Rigo has a reputation for being boring which also works to his disadvantage. Having been labeled, fairly or unfairly, an unmarketable commodity for his highly technical style, Rigo was dismissed by Top Rank, his then promoter, in 2014. Top Rank's president, Bob Arum, insisted no major network wanted to showcase him.

Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux (stories)
December 9, 2017; 9pm ET
Madison Square Garden
New York City

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

“He [Rigondeaux] won his fights going away, but his style was such that he’d pile up points and then he’s stink out the audience,” said Arum in explaining why Rigo's contract wasn't renewed.

Top Rank probably approached Team Rigondeaux and said: Here's our offer. You'll get an opportunity to fight on ESPN in front of millions. Take it or leave it. If you don't want it, we'll give someone else that opportunity.

Top Rank's relationship with ESPN
Also, Lomachenko's promoter, Top Rank, has the relationship with ESPN, not Team Rigondeaux. Any Top Rank fighter will have leverage, financially, against an opponent fighting under another banner.

Juice with the fans
In most cases, purses are determined by a fighter's ability to generate interest. If a fighter who is 1-0 fills more seats than and generates more interest than his opponent who is 100-0, the former will usually get the higher purse.

Conor McGregor, for example, earned more in one fight than many great champions have earned in their entire careers. But McGregor brought with him a large fan base and could generate tremendous interest for his bout with Floyd Mayweather.

Tonight, both fighters are generating interest but the business circumstances favor the better-positioned Lomachenko whose stock value is higher.But make no mistake about it, Rigo is 50 percent of this historic match-up. And Loma, while the A-side, isn't worthy of tripling the Cuban's purse.

Nothing to lose
At 37, where else is Rigo going to earn 400K? And if Rigondeaux defeats Lomachenko and looks good in the process, he'll become a star overnight and can demand much higher purses going forward.

Given Rigo is moving up two weight classes, he's not expected to win and is the solid underdog.This fight serves as a wonderful opportunity for Rigondeaux and he doesn't have a lot to lose.

Perhaps Rigondeaux used the difference in purses as a motivator when preparing for this bout?


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