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The Misrepresentation featuring Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux


The Misrepresentation featuring Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux
By: Kirk Jackson

Vasyl Lomachenko 8-1 (6 KO’s) is considered by many pundits as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport and is in an odd position.

A fighter with less than 10 fights to be considered by many observers at the very worse, top five pound-for-pound is quite unique.

Lomachenko_RussellJr_140621_007a

^ I personally have Andre Ward clearly ranked at No. 1, followed by Terence Crawford, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman or Roman Gonzalez.

Lomachenko’s assortment of skills is a sight many observers marvel at; his fluid punch combinations, the flickering of his feet with how he seamlessly moves in, out and around opponents, the various angles and looks that make it nearly impossible for opponents to capitalize on, Lomachenko lives up to his moniker “Hi-Tech.”

With Lomachenko’s short stint as a professional, he boasts a pretty decent resume for the small amount of fights.

Wins against Nicholas Walters and Gary Russell Jr. no matter the circumstances will look good on anyone’s resume.
I wouldn’t hold his last fight versus Jason Sosa 20-2-4 (15 KO’s) against him, as I believe that was set-up as a showcase fight, in effort to build towards a greater fight in the immediate aftermath. But it appears I was wrong with that assessment.

Lomachenko is scheduled to face Miguel Marriaga 25-2 (21 KO’s) August 5th at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, California.

Wait what?

Fighting Marriaga does not suggest willingness to fight the best per say. For one, Marriaga is not even ranked
within the top 15 of the junior lightweight division.

He is ranked 27th according to Boxrec which is fitting because you have to resort to Boxrec just to figure who Marriaga is.

Marriaga is also coming off a sound defeat against Oscar Valdez via unanimous decision.

The interesting thing, Lomachenko and his supporters (mainly HBO’s Jim Lampley) claim Lomachenko is avoided by everyone virtually between 126 through 135 lbs.

Lomachenko and his handlers claim the same.

However, aside from Russell wanting a rematch with Lomachenko, there is one fighter in particular adamant on facing the Ukrainian star. Another pound-for-pound fighter, often overlooked, Guillermo Rigondeaux 17-0 (11 KO’s).

Rigondeaux is overlooked and often disrespected by many prestigious members of the media. Therefore, there is a clear misrepresentation of the Cuban and his accomplishments.

The question is why?

Along with Lomachenko, Rigondeaux is arguably the most accomplished amateur fighter of all-time. Winning two Olympic gold medals, winning over 400 fights, Rigondeaux is a seven-time Cuban national champion at bantamweight (2000–2006), finishing his amateur career with a record of nearly 475 fights with 12 losses.

The misused and overused rhetoric regarding Rigondeaux is he is “Boring” and isn’t a big draw. Comparatively speaking, these sentiments can be regarded as false.

Rigondeaux has his detractors, HBO commentatorJim Lampley, former promoter Bob Arum, to ESPN writer Dan Rafael.
Rafael flat out called Rigondeaux boring on numerous occasions, while Arum has been quoted saying, “When Rigondeaux stands and fights, the [expletive] has a lot of power and a lot of skill, but running the way he does really makes it not a watchable fight.”

The more accurate reality is Rigondeaux is suffering from being blackballed within the industry.

A small example:

The height of Rigondeaux’s fame was when he dominated Nonito Donaire, at the time regarded as the top guy pound-for-pound.

Why is it, after such a great accomplishment with the unifying of titles, and brilliant performance of defeating a top pound-for-pound fighter, the victor was less promoted than he was before prior to that fight?
It’s as though he was penalized for being that good.

Around that time, circa 2013, Rigondeaux headlined another event on HBO to close out the year. For some odd reason there was a lack of promotion, even though Rigondeaux was fighting a former champion and highly qualified contender, Joseph Agbeko.

That same day rival network Showtime was airing the heavily promoted bout PaulieMalignaggivsZab Judah at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York.

There were subsequent fights on both networks and here are the numbers as follows; these numbers are based off a Jake Donovan article on www.boxingscene.com.

Highest to Lowest:
Kirkland-Tapia, HBO, 718,000
PaulieMalignaggi – Zab Judah, Showtime, 640,000
Rigondeaux- Agbeko, HBO, 550,000
Devon Alexander- Shawn Porter, Showtime, 515,000
SakioBika- Anthony Dirrell, Showtime, 446,000
Erislandy Lara- Austin Trout, Showtime, 429,000
Matthew Macklin-Lamar Russ, HBO, 401,000

It can be argued when these two opposing networks (HBO and Showtime) go head to head they lose a significant amount of viewers.

Rigondeaux’s fight was in direct competition with a fight that was actually promoted and didn’t do too bad.
If Rigondeaux vs. Agbeko aired on a night where the opposing network was not showing any boxing events, the numbers may have increased substantially.

We compare those numbers to Lomachenko’s last airing, there was an average of 832,000 viewers who watched Lomachenko defend his WBO world super featherweight title against Sosa in the main event of HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader.

An event featuring another Ukrainian star, WBO cruiserweight champion AleksandrUsyk (12-0, 10 KO’s) and talented light heavyweight contender OleksandrGvozdyk (13-0, 11 KO’s).

With everything considered, promotion vs. no promotion, Lomachenko and Rigondeaux are in the same ball park.

Again why is there praise for one (Lomachenko) and disdain for another (Rigondeaux)? Why can’t there be room to praise both talents? By praising both, it’s how we continue to appreciate and build the sport as opposed to continually tear it down.

Also very important, why hasn’t this fight been made?

This can be an interesting match-up of talents featuring two legendary amateur fighters.

Rigondeaux uses an unique skill-set, possesses power in both hands and based on his social media handles (Twitter, Instagram) appears willing to fight the best as well.

The same can be obviously echoed for Lomachenko.

Perhaps it is the former promoter of Rigondeaux and current promoter of Lomachenko who does notnot want the fight to come into fruition?

Arguments and disagreements with weight, money, prevented this epic match-up from manifesting into realization in the past.

The interesting thing is this fight could potentially favor Lomachenko provided his skillset, along with his youth and size advantages.

Based off Rigoneaux’s last performance against Moises Flores 25-0 (17 KO’s) albeit a small sample size, he appears to still possess his reflexes and power.

It’s interesting both Lomachenko and Rigondeaux share so much in common; from amateur pedigree and mirrored accomplishments at the amateur and professional level, high boxing intellect and skill-levels although each possessing different skill-sets and I believe there is a gift and curse they both share.

A gift and curse once shared by Floyd Mayweather, Marvin Hagler and many other great fighters of the past.
Rigondeaux and Lomachenko are so talented, there is reluctance at some degree regarding other fighters and their desire to face them.

It’s to a point where the financial compensation must warrant the risk of the fight.
Rigondeaux’s appears ready.

Let’s make it happen.

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