The eagerly anticipated pound for pound match up of Vasyl Lomachenko vs Guillermo Rigondeaux is the boxing purists dream fight and its arrival is almost upon us. Fresh from a gym session, fine tuning his own skills, I spoke to one of Rigondeaux’s ex-foe, Jazza Dickens, for his break down of this super-fight.
Standing in the corner of the ring, all the lights are on you, the raucous noises blanked out by adrenaline. The imposing figure opposite you trying to take the food off your table is the weight divisions top dog. Guillermo Rigondeaux. What on earth goes through your mind?
“It was just the same as any other fighter. I seen him as a target. It was more the occasion, this was my World title fight, it was about me it weren’t about him. The first time fighting for a World title, my dream since I was a little kid and the fact it was him in there it made it better for me. I saw myself beating one of the pound for pound greatest.”
The ever confident Scouser was not fazed by the champion, and delivered a frank assessment as he reflected on his ring tribulations with one of the most avoided fighter’s in modern day boxing.
“Coming into the fight it was great, so exciting. It was a buzz. When the fight started I was just sticking to me game plan and the fight was close and then he’s caught me with that shot. The shot didn’t even buzz me. You think you got your jaw broke but it didn’t even buzz me. I felt me jaw just break off I seen the shot come and I seen it go away and thought; ‘Oh no what now?!’ I thought the pain would get better but it just got worse, when I got back (to the corner) me coach pulled me out.”
‘Jazza’ walked away with a broken jaw and a loss on his record but he didn’t lose that night. You only lose if you don’t learn.
“I took a lot of lessons from this fight. The media hype around a world title fight… You don’t understand you’re gonna wake up with messages on the phone, phone calls you gotta deal with; when you wake up you got all this social media stuff. That goes on all day, we have to do it around training, you have to stay up late because of all these media obligations and that’s the reality of it you don’t realise when your fighting at English/British/European levels. There’s no where too relax. You see the likes of (Adrian) Broner always hyping the fight and you think why are they acting like that but realistically they know what they’re doing they are giving their opponent no head space. I had never felt so intruded in my personal life.”
The only negative we have really seen from the Cuban maestro is the in-ring inactivity. But what does Rigondeaux do best from a boxers point of view?
“Rigondeaux, a very, very sharp fighter. I don’t find he punches with good power intentionally but it’s explosiveness that gives him his power. He has his technique down to a tee. He has had the same technique from when he was a kid. He’s only got more and more explosive since working on it as a kid. He’s only got a handful of shots but he does them over, and over and over. That’s what boxing is, repetition of the same thing but with different pace.”
Liverpudlian and former British Super Bantamweight champion, Dickens, gave his assessment on how the fight will unravel.
“I think it will be great while it lasts. The first few rounds will be hard for him to be caught and I don’t think Lomachenko will be happy to take shot after shot after shot while he’s moving his head and is so evasive. I think later on Rigondeaux’s gonna need to come forward and fight a bit more. I think the weight will play a massive part. I think Lomachenko will beat him whether it’s a late stoppage or on points. That’s my opinion on the fight.”
A lot has been said about the difference in weight, majority feeling this will hinder Rigondeaux but Jazza see’s both pro’s and con’s.
“I don’t think size or height will be a problem, it will suit Rigondeaux as he’s smaller with a longer range which is crazy isn’t it! I think it would benefit him (Rigondeaux) more because he could stay low while keeping that range but weight-wise it will take a toll. I don’t see how he can put any more weight on to that (frame) for it to benefit him. I think the weight difference we will see will be crazy but the next day (fight night) it will be even more. If Lomachenko sticks to his boxing the weight will be a factor in the fight.”
Written and interviewed by James Lupton.