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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.

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^ 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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Is Bud Crawford Being Avoided?


Is Bud Crawford Being Avoided?
By: Sean Crose

Let’s face it, with the exception of Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao can pretty much face whoever he wants, whenever he wants. It’s the sort of privilege that comes with being an all-time great. And, make no mistake about it, the Filipino star still has a great deal of pop. Just look how good of a 2016 the man had if you don’t believe me. Want to say he’s diminished? Fine, he’s diminished – but he still might be able to take every active welterweight in the word at the moment. That’s really saying something when you consider just how loaded the welterweight division is.

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There’s one particular junior welterweight, however, that team Pacqauio seems intent on avoiding – at least for the time being. While big names like Danny Garcia and Adrien Broner might be palatable to someone like Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, this top stable mate of Pacquio’s appears to be off limits. The stable mate is, of course, fellow Arum fighter Bud Crawford, the unquestioned dominant force of the 140 lb realm. Like PacMan, Crawford had himself one hell of a 2016, besting the likes of top competition such as Viktor Postol while firmly establishing himself as one of boxing’s rising stars – at least in the eyes of hardcore fans.

Crawford’s lack of casual fan recognition, however, makes it easy for him to be avoided. While his fight with Postol was a pay per view event, it had no business outside of the realm of basic pay cable and had a less than stellar buy rate. Even a Pacquiao who is no longer essential viewing for casual fans is still far more of a known commodity than Crawford is. Ask a person on the street who Manny Pacquiao is and he or she will probably know. Ask a person who Bud Crawford is, however…

All of this actually leaves team Pacquiao in a strange place. Again, the man isn’t the draw he once was – at least not in North America. And he’ll continue to marginalize his own popularity here so long as he continues to face less than top names. On the other hand, Pacquiao should be given some slack, considering his extended and extremely courageous career. He’s older now, after all, and has arguably earned the right to take it a bit easy. In this sense he is much like former opponent, Miguel Cotto, a man who can be forgiven for cherry picking at this point on his resume.

Like Cotto, however, Pacquiao must realize that he will continue to lose eyeballs and earning potential if he wraps up his career fighting men who simply aren’t the best opposition out there. What’s ironic in all this, of course, is that Pacquiao might well take Crawford to school. Believe it. Even now, there’s few out there as good as he is. The guy’s incredibly fast, mobile, buzzsaw style could well cause Crawford considerable frustration. Then again, Crawford would certainly stand a chance of besting Pacquiao. Which, of course, might be the reason why this potential matchup is being put off, if not avoided entirely.

Arum says he intends for Pacquiao to fight outside the United States next, and no, Crawford is not included in the plans. Perhaps team Pacquiao is just looking for one more large payday outside of America before facing the man from Omaha. Then again…

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Santa Cruz And Frampton Would Rather Punch Each Other’s Lights Out Than Face Rigo


Santa Cruz And Frampton Would Rather Punch Each Other’s Lights Out Than Face Rigo
By: Sean Crose

Sure, Saturday’s bout between Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz will probably be exciting. These are two fighters who can excite, after all. They’re both also quite popular and lucrative properties, to put it bluntly. Yet therein lies the problem to me. These guys are bringing in bucks and eyeballs while avoiding the biggest threat out there that either of them could face – Guillermo Rigondeaux. Sure, they could say that they’re in a different division than Rigo now, but everyone knows that’s crap. These two have been avoiding the slick Cuban for ages – so much so they’d rather punch each other’s lights out than be made to look foolish for twelve rounds.

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Look, I understand that boxing is “prize fighting,” and that it may well have been first designed to be a part of the entertainment business as opposed to the sport’s world. That doesn’t mean it should stay that way, though. The truth is, boxing isn’t pro wrestling, it’s ultimately a sport (whether it was originally designed to be one or not), and competition should be first and foremost on everyone’s mind. Indeed, the reality is that the New York Yankees might bring a lot more eyeballs to the World Series than, say, the Tampa Bay Rays…but baseball fans would be outraged if the top division teams didn’t get to play in the big one at the end of the season. Where is that sense of fairness among those of us who love the sweet science?

Well, it’s there when we want it to be, it seems, but only when we want it to be. We call bullshit when Canelo calls GGG into the ring, then gives up his title rather than face the man. We make Stevenson a virtual nonentity for not getting it on with Kovalev. We do not, however, charge Santa Cruz and Frampton of ducking Rigo. We simply nod our heads, laugh, and say Rigo is too boring to watch anyway. Fair enough, but we then need to remember that boxing is the entity we ourselves allow it to be. We either wish it to be about who is the best or we don’t.

What we need to remember, however, is that there’s consequences to our choices. When we pick an entertainment business over true competition, we avoid having to watch Rigo potentially bore the hell out of us in a twelve round snoozer. Yet we also get the Canelo-GGG scenario, and Danny Garcia facing less than challenging opposition. It’s a tradeoff, plain and simple.

And, for all our griping, it appears to be one we fight fans are willing to accept.

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