Vasyl Lomachenko (-400) vs Guillermo Rigondeaux (+275), Draw (+2200)
Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) and Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs) are rumored to be inches away from closing a deal on a December 9th fight at Madison Square Garden. According to Lomachenko’s promoter, Bob Arum, Rigondeaux is willing to move up two weight classes to challenge Loma’s WBO junior-lightweight title.
Naturally, the terms favor Lomachenko. Rigo has spent his entire professional career fighting at super bantamweight (122 lbs) and spent his amateur career at bantamweight (118 lbs). Fighting at 130 lbs would be unchartered waters for the diminutive Cuban. Lomachenko also has a height advantage, standing two inches taller than Rigo (though his reach is three inches shorter).
With four Olympic gold medals between them, Loma and Rigo are two of the most technically proficient fighters in professional boxing. Rigondeaux is one of the most efficient defensive fighters we’ve ever seen, while Lomachenko’s creativity and vision is truly unique.
Rigondeaux has been ducked by the best throughout his entire career. He’s one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world, but his fights are often overly defensive and never manage to garner much interest. For most potential opponents, taking him on is a ton of risk for very little reward. The results is that Rigo has had to settle for whatever he’s offered, facing little-known opponents and receiving little recognition.
Lomachenko is billed as the next big thing in boxing, but so far he hasn’t faced a world-class opponent. So even though most pound-for-pound rankings have him somewhere near the top, he’s yet to prove that he can handle himself against the best.
This fight solves both of their problems. Rigo finally lands a fight he deserves, and Loma gets the chance to prove himself against one of the best. If the fight is made — which is looking very likely at the moment — then it will be the biggest fight of both their careers to date.
Unlike many of Rigo’s bouts, this fight should have appeal beyond boxing die-hards. As two of the best amateur boxers of all time, we’re guaranteed a technical masterclass, yes. But their contrasting styles should make for a very entertaining fight, as well. Loma likes to press and initiate the attack in stark contrast to Rigo’s extremely defensive approach.
While I’m inclined to pick Lomachenko in this match-up, the opening odds lean way too heavily in his favor. Placing Rigondeaux at +275, presumably because of the size difference, is vastly underestimating the undefeated junior-lightweight champ. If you want to pick Lomachenko, wait a while and see if the line moves in your favor. If Rigondeaux is your guy, take advantage of these odds right now.
Pick: Guillermo Rigondeaux (+275)