And so it was not Art Official.
Because the paint brushes were stolen along with the trademark, only boxing can manage to skidmark it's way off of the beautiful autobahn that 2017 designed. Taking the high road is not an option.
Even the ringcard girls wore a look of erectile dysfunction in the face of an ugly Guillermo Rigondeaux performance, marred further by the great ambiguity among so many so called “experts”, who conveniently disguised themselves in tough genius costumes on Sunday morning. You don't get to be brave when the coast is clear.
As snowfall fought with rain at dusk just prior to my arrival at Madison Square Garden, I'm honestly wondering if WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko will make Guillermo Rigondeaux quit.
Weeks prior, I had written “Would Vasyl Lomachenko Beat Floyd Mayweather At Super Featherweight?”, even as this Sunday morning forced me to process a one-sided and abusive relationship with boxing. I'm still thinking yes, but there's no fucking way he would ever make “Pretty Boy Floyd” quit.
During a very late business meeting with a certain fashionista royale on Park Ave and 29th, I'm adamantly telling her that Rigondeaux will lose badly, just a few hours before the fight. I know that she's a diehard Rigondeaux life supporter, but I'm looking to give her a much easier route of euthanasia with him.
Because she leaves somewhat depressed, I'm somehow wishing my dark honesty was more suppressed. I'm also hearing the ghost of Bert Randolph Sugar, who so wisely cautioned my excitement in “Art Official”. As I walk toward The Garden in sullen winter, I revisit Loma's surprise in front of the vendor and replace him with an imaginary Rigo. Instantly changing euphoric joy into an epiphany of pain, Rigo taps me on the shoulder, forcing me to turn and stare at a gold-toothed smile with snake eyes.
*** *** ***
During Thursday's presser, I watched a greasy Rigondeaux descend into acquiescence. Then he started getting sweet with the tweets. This belied the fact that he told the very respected Brian Campbell via Twitter (where else?) that he would ‘not let him down', while stating a willingness to die in the ring. The weigh-in revealed to this writer what I already knew before this fight was even signed: Rigondeaux would absolutely have to risk his life to win.
I told you.
Not only did Loma look bigger than Rigo on the scales on Friday afternoon, but with the next day weigh-in at 9am calling for Loma to be no more than 138 lbs, it seemed entirely logical that Loma would weigh as much as 144 at the sound of the bell on fight night.
How any expert could believe that Rigondeaux — giving away the same kind of weight a green banana version of Lomachenko gave to Orlando Salido in his 2nd fight — could possibly win as a defensive minded counterpuncher, is as suspect as Rigondeaux's birth certificate. This is right around the time Bert Sugar patted me on the back from press balcony seats, as I glared into the corner of a black “El Chacal” turned big white towel.
“Don't feel bad,” says Sugar, in a very Godfather kind of way. “Half the people you know in this game are less than average.”
*** *** ***
A gangster Stephen A. Smith, with ESPN, walks by and daps me up while looking like a new age version of Brown from Quentin Tarantino's “Reservoir Dogs”. Stephen A is my dawg– but he's not a fight guy, and I'm cringing as I'm watching and listening to his interview with Terence “Bud” Crawford just a few feet away from me. Since we both watched this fight from the same point of view, I felt it fair to encourage him to read my column from NY Fights. He assured me that he would with a real conviction, one outside of the often contrived variety he reveals on air while working.
All I am is the best pound-for-pound big fight analyst on the planet. It's not even close. Max Kellerman should write that down.
Two things became abundantly clear on Saturday night: Vasyl Lomachenko (more embarrassed by victory after embarrassing the disgraced Twitter quitter) is the very best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing and Top Rank made the right decision to abandon Guillermo Rigondeaux. Why would an HBO want a serial ring groper that can't speak English or take risk in big moments? I mean, look what he just did to ESPN.
He doesn't belong in any discussions with Sugar Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather or Wilfred Benitez. Rigondeaux sycophants are most likely insulting Donald Curry, who always at least dared to be great and went out on his shield. Rigondeaux and his corner simply created one, before shamelessly shielding themselves under it, rather than getting KTFO in a way that would KO massive egos.
ROC Nation, consistently revealing itself to be an entity of dubious distinction, lead this money grab by Rigondeaux, who in a craven display of dishonor far worse than that of Roberto Duran, shouted “No Mas!” and “Fuck you!” to fans and media who flew from places far and wide, only with the reward of paying to see him hide. It was absolutely disgusting.
He did this in front of 2016 Rio Olympic silver medalist and rising star Shakur Stevenson, who actually dare I say flashed an early glimpse of a possible Sugar Ray Robinson remix. This, after giving Lomachenko far greater sparring sessions, compared to the terrible sparring session we did not come to see.
You must understand that he did this on the heels of a No-Contest with Moises Flores, on the undercard of Ward V Kovalev II in June, a bout screaming with corruption louder than Teddy Atlas can describe. That's why he now loses his WBA super bantamweight title. A close inspection of Flores as he hits the canvas, reveals an amateur night NBA flop that Charles Barkley would lose his mind over.
If boxing is ever to be celebrated for its integrity, it must first stop tolerating corruption and the many despicable people within at so many levels.
At dawn, there will be further distance from nothing epic the night before. The thought of Sugar Ray Leonard V Wilfred Benitez in a thriller has faded to mist. Vasyl Lomachenko will now be forced to avenge victory in the same way Roberto Duran was to be denied glory.
The amateur great Rigondeaux and the legendary pro Duran is an absolutely insulting comparison.
Beyond so many points that can be made, Duran had been forced into another superfight with Leonard just a little over four months after his amazing June 1980 triumph from lightweight, where he reigned as a near invincible king. What the fuck has Rigondeaux ever done as a pro except scare elite fighters with a style that fights not to lose? Since when is excessive clinching an art form?
Lightweight is 12 lbs from welterweight. The modern super bantamweight is 8 lbs from super featherweight.
Duran was a bloated, over zealous party animal in the wake of victory and needed at least another six months to again morph into a dragon. For a different type of perspective, do you think Mayweather — after needing 5 years and a lot of help with a game plan to finally face Pacquiao, would even remotely consider a rematch demon just five months later? Any journalist comparing Rigondeaux to Duran right now, is a blasphemously inept prisoner of the moment who's credential should be sent to forensics.
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