Vasyl Lomachenko vs Guillermo Rigondeaux: Picks & Props

Vasyl Lomachenko (-500) vs Guillermo Rigondeaux (+333), Draw (+2000)

When rumors of a superfight between Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) and Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs) emerged, the odds skewed heavily in Lomachenko’s favor. The Ukrainian junior lightweight champ opened at -400 and the Cuban super bantamweight champ was placed at +275.

The pair of two-time Olympic gold medalists agreed to a fight at Madison Square Garden on Saturday (November 9th) with the bout sanctioned at 130 pounds. Now, with less than a week to go, the line has moved even further away from Rigondeaux. Bet365 now has Lomachenko at -500 and Rigondeaux at +333.

I believed their was a lot of value in Rigondeaux at +275, and so of course my pick still stands with Rigondeaux at +333. Having said that, there are two very valid reasons for why Lomachenko is the clear favorite. Let’s run through them one-by-one.

The Size Gap

Rigondeaux has spent his professional career at super bantamweight, defending his titles against anyone brave enough to face him at 122 pounds. In order to meet Lomachenko, he’s agreed to move up two weight classes and fight at super featherweight (130 pounds). A rehydration clause was put in place to cap the weight of the fighters at 138 pounds on the morning of the fight. This will slightly limit the size advantage for Lomachenko, a fighter accustomed to weighing in at 130.

At 5’4”, Rigondeaux stands shorter than the 5’6” Lomachenko. That will be a disadvantage for him, but he’s fought taller fighters in the past and didn’t have much trouble. Nonito Donaire is the same size as Lomachenko, and Rigo easily overcame the size difference and beat him to a pulp.

Rigo has abnormally long arms for someone his size. His 68-inch reach surpasses Lomachenko’s 65 inches. With his long jab, he’s able to keep his opponents at a distance and neutralize the height disparity.

The Age Gap

At 37 years old, Rigondeaux is in the sunset years of his boxing career. But like many world-class defensive fighters, his fighting style has meant that he’s sustained very little damage over the years. Lomachenko had a long and decorated career as an amatuer boxer before turning pro, and at 29 years old, he’s around his physical prime.

Boxing can be extremely cruel to aging fighters and their decline is often swift and uncompromising. Rigondeaux hasn’t fought a world-class opponent in quite some time, so it’s hard to gauge how much of an impact his age will have. His 17-0 record suggests that the rapid decline is yet to come.

Pick: Guillermo Rigondeaux (+333)

We’ve seen Vasyl Lomachenko pick apart his last few opponents with tremendous ease and finesse. But he’s never faced a fighter like Rigondeaux before. It won’t be so easy for him to close the distance against Rigo, who has made a career of keeping his opponents at arm’s length and relying on the counter-punch. This is the biggest fight of both of their careers, and it should be a lot closer than the line suggests.

Madison Square Garden.
Madison Square Garden. Photo credit: Meredith Divita (Flickr) CC License

Method of Victory

Lomachenko by KO, TKO, or DQ: -110

Lomachenko by Decision: +189

Rigondeaux by KO, TKO, or DQ: +1200

Rigondeaux by Decision: +500

Lomachenko is expected to stop Rigondeaux on Saturday. And if he doesn’t, the scorecard is expected to favor him. The bookmakers really do not like Rigo’s chances of stopping Lomachenko, despite the fact that he’s won 11 of his 17 victories by way of knockout. That could be an oversight on their part.

Rigondeaux isn’t a terribly exciting fighter. He doesn’t headhunt or brawl. He methodically wears down his opponents and finishes them off. His punches pack more power than people expect, so a knockout definitely shouldn’t be ruled out. At +1200, it’s worth considering.

Odds Fight Goes the Distance

Yes: +100

No: -137

Over/Under Total Rounds

Over 9.5: -162

Under 9.5: +120

Rigondeaux has a way of controlling the tempo of his fights. And his preferred pace is quite slow. He keeps his opponents at a distance, waits for them to engage, and slips a deadly counter. Lomachenko is also known to set the tempo of his fights, and he prefers a much faster pace. He applies constant pressure and overwhelms his opponents with some of the best footwork in the game.

I believe it is essentially a toss-up whether the fight goes the distance or is stopped early. So my picks would be for the options with the higher pay-outs: fight will go the distance (+100) and under 9.5 rounds (+120).

Eaton Thatcher

Eaton used to write for MTS predominantly about boxing but also about soccer, football, tennis and basketball.

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