Loma Stops Rigo in 6

By Caryn A. Tate on December 9, 2017
Loma Stops Rigo in 6
Eventually, the holding became excessive. Rigondeaux was hardly throwing punches.

After the sixth round, Rigo told his trainer Pedro Diaz that he had a hand injury and couldn’t continue. The fight was called…

In a historic night for the sport, from Madison Square Garden’s small room in New York City, two of the most accomplished fighters in the sport squared off. Two-time Olympic gold medalists Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs) and Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux (17-1, 11 KOs) squared off—the first time in boxing when two fighters with two gold medals have faced each other. The boxing world has eagerly anticipated this match-up since Lomachenko turned pro in 2013. Both boxers’ amateur records combine to a staggering 859-13.

Rigondeaux, who essentially cleaned out the super bantamweight division, had to move up two weight classes to meet Lomachenko at 130 pounds. Just prior to the fight, Teddy Atlas interviewed Lomachenko and the Ukrainian talent said he sought to be an entertainer in the ring. To his credit, that’s exactly what Loma did tonight.

The first round wasn’t surprising—it was a highly skilled chess match. I had the round going to the Cuban, as he landed more clean punches.

But from there on it was all Lomachenko. He used his unorthodox but highly effective footwork to pivot around Rigo and peppered him with shots. He never appeared to really hurt Rigo, but he obviously out-landed the Cuban regardless. Rigo appeared to be looking for one shot, and while he is not normally a volume puncher like Loma, it was an unusually subdued performance from Rigo.

It seemed from about round two onward that Rigo was perhaps a bit surprised by Loma’s footwork and speed. Periodically he would grab and hold, and referee Steve Willis most often told the fighters to “work,” but occasionally rebuked Rigo for the repeated foul. But, when Rigo would lean down in a defensive posture and rotate at his mid-section to avoid taking punches, Loma punched the Cuban behind the head on a few different occasions, and Willis said nothing.

Eventually, the holding became excessive and Rigo was hardly throwing punches. In round six, referee Willis took a point for the clinching. Loma continued to control the pacing and the flow of the action.

After the sixth round, Rigo told his trainer Pedro Diaz that he had a hand injury and couldn’t continue. The fight was called.

In the post-fight interview, Rigondeaux said, “I hurt the top of my left hand in the second round and I couldn’t continue. I’m gonna come back and I’ll fight anybody, because there’s no excuses. I do give Lomachenko credit, though—he is an excellent boxer.”

As for the victor, he joked, “Maybe my new nickname will be No Mas-chenko.”

In the co-main event, Christopher Diaz (22-0, 14 KOs) faced late replacement Bryant Cruz (18-3, 9 KOs) for the NABO super featherweight title. Diaz boxed beautifully and dropped Cruz with a clean shot upstairs in the first round. If Cruz seemed nervous from the first bell, after the knockdown his nerves showed that much more. To his credit, though, that didn’t stop him from trying, and he did attempt to put his shots together. But Diaz was just on another level skill-wise.

In the second round, Diaz landed a beautiful left hook that dropped Cruz again (though on the replay, it was revealed the hook actually landed a bit behind the head). When Cruz arose, his legs weren’t good, and Diaz took advantage and unloaded more punches. Cruz went down again, and made the count just before the bell. In the third, it didn’t take long before Diaz landed another good left hook upstairs, on the temple, that had Cruz’s legs wobbly and he fell to the canvas again. Referee Harvey Dock rightly waved it off.

Two-time Irish Olympian Michael Conlan (4-0, 4 KOs) took on Luis Fernando Molina (7-3-1, 2 KOs) in a six rounder at featherweight. It wasn’t surprisng that, at the level Conlan is currently at as a pro, Molina was outclassed; but it was interesting to see Conlan working on varying his punches. He occasionally led with his power hand and followed it up with his jab, and while it’s a relatively simple thing, it served its purpose and threw Molina off.

In round two, Conlan switched stances and boxed well from southpaw too. Molina didn’t come to be anybody’s opponent, though, and displayed the type of tenacity and ability to dog his way inside that is common from Argentinean fighters. Conlan occasionally dropped his hands, much to the chagrin of former fighter and world champion Timothy Bradley (who was commentating on ESPN)—Bradley felt Conlan took too long to get his punches to his target that way. Nevertheless, Molina’s tenacity was of distinct importance tonight, as he took Conlan the distance for the first time in the Irishman’s pro career. Michael won a deserved shutout decision and gained vital experience as he learned to deal with an opponent he wasn’t able to stop early.

Kicking off the broadcast was 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, Shakur Stevenson (4-0, 2 KO), taking on Oscar Mendoza (4-3, 2 KOs) in a six-round featherweight bout. Stevenson was clearly eager to get a knockout; from the beginning, he was sitting down more on his punches. Mendoza didn’t seem to have any idea how to get to Shakur, and took the kitchen sink of punches from the highly skilled American. In round two, Stevenson began landing even more consistently, and they were hard and sharp punches. Mendoza took them all. After more of the same, referee Sparkle Lee stepped in and waved it off.

At this stage of his professional career, Stevenson is being matched correctly. He’s faced good but limited opposition, but all with winning records. As he told me late last month, “I want to start catching more knockouts,” and tonight he did that in good form. He’s an undeniably talented young fighter who has his head in the game, and it’ll be great to see him continue to grow over the course of his career—hopefully continuing to be aired on national, network television to help grow his fan base.

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  1. Koolz 02:23pm, 12/10/2017

    How can you be sympathetic to Rigo!  The guy wanted this fight.  He turned down Loma’s team at 126.

    He moves up two divisions and get’s his butt handed to him.  Completely out classed which in it’s self is rather amazing considering what a defensive wizard and counter puncher he is, and if you watch the fight again you can clearly see Rigo try and do his best, but Loma’s speed and timing is to much for him.

  2. Gogea Mitu 02:14pm, 12/10/2017

    Conlan doesn’t hit hard enough….neither does Shakur! Skoglund joins Mago and Prichard Colon in medically induced comas ....Smith almost loses his ear…..Weeks acting very weak of late…unable to to recognize fouls to save his soul….instead of giving 5 minute break for blatant low blows he’ll call TKO especially if you’re the designated bad guy Russian…..then Shafikov tripped down right in front of his nose and he scores Knockdown! Atlas’ replacement at ringside sounds like he’s about to nod off and fall out of his chair!

  3. Koolz 12:29pm, 12/10/2017

    I have to say Lomachenko in this fight was just Insanely amazing!  Hit foot work, speed, just incredible!  I have watched the fight twice now.  once with sound and one without sound.  Loma comes in dips left right and then finds just a little space and opens up fast light jabs that he then give Rigo upper cut hell.

    I didn’t see anything different in the way Rigo fought.  Loma was just to much for him.

  4. Koolz 11:57am, 12/10/2017

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhaE4ArmDaY

    hard to find the fight for people.

  5. Lucas McCain 06:43am, 12/10/2017

    Hard not to be sympathetic to Rigo, at least going in to the fight.  First rate skills withering on the vine, so he becomes a punching bag for a payday.  The quitting may have been an anticlimax but did anyone think he had a chance or want to see him get pulped?  Think of Monzon vs. Napoles.  Jose was a great welter, but no chance at 160.

  6. Steven Stahler 05:33am, 12/10/2017

    The writer is a little sympathetic to Rigo. Too bad, should write for Boxing 24/7. Shame on you.

  7. Gogea Mitu 05:10am, 12/10/2017

    @Red Plains- “I had the round going to the Cuban, as he landed more clean punches”. Rigo didn’t win a minute of that fight and then he flat out quit…the only punches he landed were to Loma’s gloves, arms and protective cup! “When Rigo would lean down in a defensive posture and rotate his mid-section to avoid taking punches, Loma punched the Cuban behind the head on a few different occasions and Willis said nothing”?! Bending over below the belt line is an illegal manuever, it’s just another way of turning your back on your opponent. FYI there’s a video on Youtube of Andre Ward bending below Kovalev’s belt line and then head butting Sergey below the belt….beautiful Goddamned beautiful!

  8. Galvar 11:29pm, 12/09/2017

    Lol… he hurt his hand?  Come on… I’m not a big fan of either boxers but much respect to Loma for not allowing Rigo to get away with the dirty tactics that most “experts” were calling “defensive skills”.  Holding and dipping really low so you expose the back of your head didn’t work tonight.  If Rigo couldn’t fight before because of lack of fans he might as well retire now since he lost a lot of face tonight.

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