CUBAN maestro Guillermo Rigondeaux has explained his motives for taking the risky move up two whole weight classes to challenge WBO super-featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko on December 9 at Madison Square Garden.
“Let him think what he wants. We are going to do what we need to do. We have our game plan,” Rigondeaux said. “I went up to 130lbs because it was the only way I could get this fight made. I would rather it have been at a lower weight, but I want to show the world that I can do it by moving up two weight classes.”
“If this is what it takes to fight the big fights then you guys are going to see on December 9 if I am ready or not,” he added. “I feel stronger than ever and I am going to do it and do it right. Moving up has had no negative effect whatsoever on my speed or power.
“I wanted to fight him when he was at 126lbs. And we tried and we tried and we tried and he wouldn’t step in the ring with me. Now he is at 130 and wants to step in the ring with me because he believes now he has the advantage over me.”
But he cautioned, “The one that has to worry is Lomachenko. I am fine and I will do what I need to do when I get in the ring. I don’t worry too much what people think. I have my power every time I step in the ring. I don’t look for a knockout. It just happens. It’s unpredictable.
“Even if it is the Son of God, I don’t care. I fight whoever I need to fight.”
But Rigondeaux and Lomachenko are two-time Olympic gold medallists and professional world champions. The Cuban though is a career super-bantamweight. He recognises Lomachenko’s talents. “He is a great boxer and he has a lot of qualities and he is also an Olympic champion, multiple times, so he’s got a lot of talent,” Rigondeaux said. “It is the first time in history that two multiple Olympic champions are going to fight each other, face each other off, and it is going to be a very good fight. It’s going to be a great fight for the fans and it’s going to be a great historical fight that fans will forever look back on.”
This fight is significant. Rigondeaux has had a career littered with frustrations. Now he gets his biggest fight since beating Nonito Donaire. “I am tired of saying, ‘don’t talk to me about Santa Cruz, don’t talk to me about Frampton’ – I have already said I want to fight these guys. Ask them if they want to fight – anybody, any time, but I am tired of saying that. Ask them who they want too fight because they don’t want to fight me,” he said. “It is my way of thinking that there will be a lot of greater things that will come my way after this fight – yes, a lot of things. This win will be a great thing for my career but I have had a lot of great victories in the past and this will be one more to add to my great victories, but there will be better things to come once I get past him.
“I’ve gone through a lot of adversity in my life as it is. I just take care of what I need to do in the ring.”