Friday, 08 December 2017 06:11

Loma vs Rigo prediction: Expect a more aggressive, bloodthirsty Cuban

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Yes, the title is accurate.

When Guillermo Rigondeaux fights, there’s always that looming fear we’ll need a few No Doze pills to get through it.

Will we see that all-too-familiar overly-cautious version of Rigo against Lomachenko?

Answer: No, unless he goes into survival mode early and is content to simply last the full twelve.And given the magnitude of the event, that would be very disappointing. 

But odds are, we’ll see a more aggressive, angrier version of Guillermo Rigondeaux step in the ring with Vasyl Lomachenko on December 9.


Reputation and stock value
Rigo's reputation for being a boring 'points' fighter has long been a hindrance to his career so he understands he must make the most of this opportunity. 

The old saying 'Win tonight and look good next time' won't apply to Rigondeaux as he's played that card a few too many times already and knows this fight might be the last opportunity he has to shine on boxing's biggest stage.

Let's face it, who would have thought we'd see Rigondeaux in another high-profile superfight that fans are actually excited about?

Given his stock wasn't bolstered by his convincing, but boring, win over then-superstar Nonito Donaire, Rigo surely understands he must do more than win against Lomachenko.The Donaire win, despite enhancing Rigo's legacy as a fighter and champion, did little or nothing to propel his stock value among fans.

Styles make fights, and given Loma's freakish skills and size advantage, Rigo will have no alternative but to be more aggressive.

Sure, he outclassed a naturally-bigger Donaire but Rigo won't give a boxing lesson to Lomachenko. It's not going to happen.

“Vasyl will not allow Rigondeaux to pile up points,” promoter Bob Arum said during a conference call Wednesday. “So Rigondeaux, to win the fight, will have to be more aggressive than he wants to be."

"I think this is gonna be a very, very good fight, a very interesting fight, because Rigondeaux is not gonna be able to get out, with a big lead on points, on Vasyl."

"And therefore, he will have to fight the entire fight, as long as it goes, to win.”

Arum is correct.

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

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

Rigo's mean streak
To Rigo's credit, he's unleashed a brand of cruelty in the ring that fight fans usually love, and it should be on display December 9.

Remember his final bout as a Top Rank fighter?

Having been labeled an unmarketable commodity for his highly technical style, Rigo was dismissed by Top Rank, his then promoter, and HBO in 2014.

As the Cuban prepared for his showdown with then title challenger Sod Kokietgym (then 63-3-1, 28 KOs), the final fight on his Top Rank contract, the promotional entity announced it had no plans to re-sign Rigo, much to the presumed liking of HBO who witnessed significant ratings drop-offs whenever he fought.

In that final fight with HBO and Top Rank, an angry Rigo appeared to send a parting message to both companies.

An unintenional clash of heads sent Kokietgym to the canvas writhing in pain in Round 1. After the referee gave him a mere 20 seconds to recover, he motioned the fighters to resume fighting and what happened next was shocking.

As a courtesy, the unsuspecting title challenger reached out to touch gloves with the hardnosed Cuban fighter before fully re-engaging and was met with a powerful two-punch combination to the face that sent him to the canvas for good.

 Rigondeaux vs Kokietgym (Fast forward to 1:06)


No pick and peck this time...

It was a legal sucker punch and unlike Victor Ortiz against Floyd Mayweather, poor Kokietgym did absolutely nothing to warrant it.

If Loma turns to complain to the referee, he'd better cover up. And if he takes his eyes off Rigo or makes the same mistake Kokietgym did, this version of the Cuban will whack him.

Punching power
In his most recent fight, Rigo nearly embalmed Moises Flores with a single punch after the bell. Flattened, the latter couldn't continue. However, Nevada State Athletic Commission would change the initial result, a knockout, to a No Contest. 

Both fighters unleashed after the bell and while Rigo's actions didn't appear intentional this time he, again, showed what he's capable of when he sits on his shots and punches for power.

Rigondeaux vs Flores (Fast forward to 5:37)

Rigo is not short of power but we seldom see it because his safety-first style is predicated on that ol' Cuban 'pile-up-the-points' approach. He has punching power and he'll need to showcase it if he wants any shot of defeating the incredibly athletic and crafty Vasyl Lomachenko.

Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux result
Win or lose, expect a more aggressive, more knockout-minded Rigondeaux.

... But there's a trade off to that approach.

If Rigo fights with bad intentions he's going to be less guarded and more vulnerable. As a result, don't be surprised if Vasyl catches him coming in or effectively counters Rigo's offensives.

An aggressive Rigo runs the risk of getting hurt, knocked down several times and possibly knocked out. Hence, a Lomachenko stoppage would be surprising but not entirely shocking.

Regardless of the outcome, though, we should see an exciting bout unless someone goes into 'survival mode' early.

Look for heated action in spirts. The Cuban will be floored or hurt at least once but will have some strong moments of his own.

In the end, Rigo will gain more respect in his first defeat than in any of his victories.

Lomachenko UD 12 Rigondeaux

Leroy Cleveland

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