The Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux fight looks to be one of the final great fights of 2017 that will have capped a wonderful year for boxing.
2017 has been a fantastic year thus far for boxing. Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitshcko offered us the most thrilling heavyweight contest we have seen in perhaps decades, while the ‘event’ that was Mayweather/McGregor brought the world’s eye back to the sport on a massive scale, if only for a little while.
Even though the year is drawing to a close we still have a number of tasty contests to look forward to, including two modern greats in Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux going toe to toe.
In the eyes of many these two fighters are possibly not only the best in their neighbouring weight classes but are also the two best fighters in the world period.
Their opposing rises into professional stardom share a lot of similarities, both positive and negative: Lomachenko’s impeccable amateur pedigree marred by a controversial split decision loss to a dirty Orlando Solido early on. Rigondeaux’s time to shine after an impressive win over Nonito Donaire shattered to pieces due to awkward promotional difficulties.
While they are both obviously insanely talented fighters Lomachenko, for whatever reason, is the man who has been able to find a consistent audience and solid viewing figures at this moment in time. And his legend is growing. The Cuban, on the other hand, has had to settle for highly unusual and controversial finishes the last two times out, robbing him of the chance to fully showcase his skillset and arguably damaging his reputation overall.
Now that they have finally signed on the dotted line the two most talked about technicians in the game today will finally have their moment in the spotlight – a superfight with wide spread ramifications in the grand scheme of things.
But, as is my nature, instead of being excited for the fight I’m filled with a lingering sense of worry.
This is the fight the boxing public demanded – No question. Put these two side by side and you’d be crazy not to think that their paths wouldn’t need to cross eventually. Look at any highlight feel and the footage speaks for itself.
Rigondeaux is perhaps the best pure boxer, in the traditional sense of things, we’ve seen since Sugar Ray Leonard. His quickfire counters and impressive head movement is a marvel to behold. He does everything exceptionally well. But, especially when compared to a guy like Hi-tech, he’s nothing new.
Lomachenko, however, is an offensive enigma. His eccentric, unpredictable footwork combined with a high degree of both accuracy and power make him a once in a lifetime attraction. He’s dazzling to watch and I pray he one day visits the UK so I can admire his work in person.
All of the above admiration though begs the question: When two men who are so brilliant yet so infathomably different in both style and approach finally meet, what happens?
In my opinion, it could go one of two ways:
One. Like magnets sharing the same polarity they cancel each other out, keeping their distance from each other (perhaps afraid to engage) leading to a boring, underwhelming 12 round clash of styles. Or…
Two. One style dominates as the other competitor is simply unable to handle the brilliance and individuality of the opponent. Which, in itself, doesn’t serve for a good fight. A masterclass or an embarrassment whichever way you look at it, perhaps. But not a good fight.
These are but a couple of possibilities in a whole multitude of potential outcomes. In my short recollection of the sport we’ve never had this kind of a match up and I genuinely don’t know what to expect. Which is probably the source of my doubt about whether or not the action will catch fire.
But I’m hoping that my worries are needless and that I’m overthinking things.
In all logical ways of thinking the two warriors will probably want to outclass each other, putting the question of who is the better technician well and truly to bed, leaving us with a potential masterpiece of a fight on both sides and a priceless piece of footage for boxing students to watch for generations to come.
I pray this is the case.
Still, whatever the case may be, in a year filled with cant-miss spectacles this is definitely another one to tick off the boxing bucket list.