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Scorn Heaped Upon Rigondeaux As He Pulls Out After Six Rounds Against Lomachenko

Two of the greatest amateurs of all time stepped into the professional ring to face each other inside the Theater at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, for a match-up that had boxing purists salivating to the point of dehydration.

Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux, however, was bitterly anti-climactic, as a frustrated Rigondeaux resorted to holding and fouling before calling it quits on his stool after the sixth round claiming a hand injury.

The opener was an unsurprisingly cagey affair, with the two southpaws almost exclusively throwing light, range-finding shots and it was difficult to pick a winner. Lomachenko took the second though, as he began to land his jab whenever Rigondeaux ducked and attempted to lean away from his shots. Even at this point, the Cuban was holding frequently and refusing to release his grip on Lomachenko when called upon to do so by the referee, Steve Willis.

In the third, Lomachenko really started to find his range. He punished Rigondeaux, who jumped up from super-bantamweight to super-featherweight for this fight and looked the much smaller man, for further mauling with a lovely trio of uppercuts off his lead hand in the final minute and also landed a stinging counter left.

In the fourth, the wonderfully fluid Ukrainian fighter landed several jolting jabs and a couple of solid lefts, but his work was stymied somewhat by Rigondeaux’s continued holding and ducking below the waist. Early in the following stanza, Willis gave Rigondeaux a final warning for holding. After the bell at the end of that round, Lomachenko lashed out at his increasingly negative foe, hitting him with a shot after being released from a head-lock.

Willis finally took a point from Rigondeaux in the sixth,  a round which Lomachenko was already comfortably winning with his much higher work rate. Late in the session, Lomachenko landed a left hand that seemed to make Rigondeaux a little weak in the knees.

Then, shockingly, came the disappointing conclusion.

On commentary for BoxNation, Barry Jones called Rigondeaux’s withdrawal, “Absolutely disgusting.”

“Lomachenko was winning that fight, he wasn’t giving him a boxing lesson, he was just better than Rigondeaux. And if Rigondeaux has quit because of that, then that is just absolutely disgusting,” said Jones. “And, I wouldn’t say this about any professional usually, doesn’t deserve his purse. If he has quit because of that – because he is losing and feeling sorry for himself – he doesn’t deserve his purse because people have paid to watch this.”

When it became apparent that Rigondeaux was claiming a hand injury, Jones apologized for those comments but added that he found it hard to accept the Cuban’s excuse.

Later, the Welshman tweeted the following.

It’s not the first time that Lomachenko has badgered a previously unbeaten, world-class operator into quitting, as he did the same to Jamaican puncher Nicholas Walters late last year.

After the fight, the two-time Olympic gold medalist joked that he should change his name to “NoMasChenko” – a reference to Roberto Duran’s infamous withdrawal against ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard in 1980.

Lomachenko retained his WBO super-featherweight title, moved to 10-1 as a professional and continued his surge up the pound for pound rankings with the win. Rigondeaux dropped to his first professional defeat and one wonders if we have seen the last of the 37-year-old double-Olympic champion, despite his post-fight assurances that he’ll be back.

In the aftermath of the fight, Twitter heaped scorn upon Rigondeaux for his decision to withdraw and praised Lomachenko for another marvellous display…



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Author: The PA Team

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