Vasyl Lomachenko pounds Guillermo Rigondeaux, forces him to quit on his stool
Lomachenko was cruising past Rigondeaux before he quit on his stool
NEW YORK -- With four Olympic gold medals between the two fighters, the attention of the boxing world turned its gaze to the Madison Square Garden Theater in search of a historically great junior lightweight title bout.
What they may have found instead was a historically great fighter.
Vasyl Lomachenko defended his WBO 130-pound title and cemented his status as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport with a dismantling of previously unbeaten Guillermo Rigondeaux on Saturday.
Rigondeaux (17-1, 11 KOs) quit on his stool after Round 6, claiming he had broken his left hand three rounds earlier. Whether his excuse is legitimate or not it likely wouldn't have mattered as the larger Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) was so dominant that Rigondeaux didn't land more than three punches in any round, according to CompuBox.
"This is something really unique," said Top Rank's Bob Arum, the promoter of Lomachenko. "I'm seeing something so special, it will have to be part of history. I've been around a long time and I have never seen anyone coming up like him. None of them, none of them compare to him.
"This guy is super special. He's going to do this to everybody. I would put him in there with anybody at 135 pounds, anybody in the world!"
Rigondeaux, a native of Cuba who holds a title at junior featherweight, moved up two weight classes to accept the fight and was never a factor from the beginning. He complained of pain in his left hand beginning in Round 2 and said he injured it significantly one round later.
"I lost. I lost but it was because of my hand," Rigondeaux said. "He is a very technical fighter. He's normal though, but he's very quick and very technical and very explosive. I'm going to come back and I'll fight against anybody because there is no excuses.
"It wasn't about the weight, really it was about the hand that I injured and that's why I could not continue. I do give Vasyl Lomachenko though, he is an excellent boxer."
According to Rigondeaux's promoter, Dino Duva of Roc Nation Sports, a ringside physician diagnosed him with a possible fracture after the fight and gave the order for Rigondeaux to head directly to the hospital.
"[Lomachenko] just frustrates you so much that the opponent doesn't know what to do," Duva said. "It's just amazing what this guy can do. I'm very disappointed. I thought Rigo had a shot, I really did. If you're facing a guy like that and your main power weapon is broke? I can understand that."
Arum, who promoted Rigondeaux until dropping him in 2014, disagreed with the injury.
"Where? I didn't see [Rigondeaux] hit him with a punch," Arum said. "Where did he hurt his hand, in the dressing room?"
Because of the one-sided nature against a smaller opponent -- Rigondeaux was out-landed 55 to 15 overall -- Lomachenko wasn't willing to celebrate the victory even though it was the fourth straight fight in which his opponent asked out between rounds.
"Well, I guess I'll have to change my name to 'No-Mas-chenko,'" Lomachenko said. "I don't consider this a big win for me because RIgondeaux was fighting at a weight that's not natural for him. He's a good fighter, he's got excellent skills.
"He is a good fighter, he is a top fighter. He is a king in boxing but he is a king in his weight class. So it's not a big win for me."
Rigondeaux, 37, was so outclassed from the beginning, he resorted to constant cheating throughout, including holding and hitting low. He was finally docked a point in the sixth and final round by referee Steve Willis.
"I adjusted to his style, low blows and all," Lomachenko said. "I was prepared."
Even with weight and injury aside, Lomachenko, 29, was simply operating at another level. He peppered Rigondeaux with jabs at will and closed distance with ease in a masterful show of footwork and technique.
"In my opinion, [junior welterweight champion Terence] Crawford will belong in the same class as the guys from the 1980s like Sugar Ray Leonard," Arum said. "He is on that level and Crawford is a sensational fighter but this guy [Lomachenko] is super human."
As far as who is next for Lomachenko, Arum is open to anyone as high as 135 pounds, including Orlando Salido, who handed Lomachenko his only defeat in his second pro fight by disputed decision.
"If Salido wants it [next], fine," Arum said. "Whoever wants it."
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