By Matt Richardson at ringside
Photos: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
In a historic battle matching two two-time Olympic gold medalists in the professional ranks, WBO junior lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko dominated Guillermo Rigondeaux over six lopsided rounds before Rigondeaux elected to stay in his corner before the start of the seventh, reportedly due to an injured left hand, on Saturday night at The Theater in Madison Square Garden.
The fight was the main event of an ESPN-televised card.
Injured hand or not, Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KO’s) dominated the fight in every way possible and made a clear argument for being considered the very best fighter in the world, pound-for-pound. Simply put: Lomachenko threw punches from angles not seen at a speed not witnessed since the prime days of Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Lomachenko is that good.
Lomachenko started the fight slowly as Rigondeaux connected with some shots but Lomachenko picked up the pace as the first round ended. Lomachenko scored with a few rights as Rigondeaux (17-1, 11 KO’s) appeared to become frustrated in the second. Rigondeaux ended the round by holding and hitting his opponent but Lomachenko appeared unfazed as he headed to the corner at the round’s end.
Rigondeaux tried to come forward in the third but Lomachenko was able to hit him and move out of range before the Cuban could connect. The round, Rigondeaux would later claim, was when he felt he injured and possibly broke his hand. But the pace of the fight continued into the fourth as Rigondeaux’s punch output dropped significantly from the first.
Both fighters engaged in some jawing at the end of the fifth that briefly led to both fighters winging shots as they approached their corners but the round was another clear win for Lomachenko as Rigondeaux started to look lost.
Rigondeaux lost a point in the sixth for holding and, shortly after, Lomachenko connected with a hard left hook as Rigondeaux was bending down. That would be the closest Lomachenko would come to a stoppage win, however, because Rigondeaux elected to stop fighting shortly after.
Lomachenko was ahead on all three judges scorecards at the time of the stoppage: 59-54, 59-54 and 60-53.