Take Shot at Long Odds on Rigondeaux to Upset Lomachenko

Andreas Hale

Friday, December 8, 2017 2:26 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 2:26 PM UTC

Boxing has had an impressive 2017 and will close out the year on the highest of high notes when two of arguably the greatest amateur boxers of all-time clash for Vasiliy Lomachenko’s WBO junior lightweight title.

Free Boxing Pick: Rigondeaux +340Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3356044, "sportsbooksIds":[238,19,43,1389,1275], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux

Both these guys are ranked on boxing’s pound-for-pound list and have a pair of Olympic gold medals attached to their resume. It’s one of the rare times where you’ll see two fighters of incredible technical ability by starkly contrasting styles competing on a high level.

That being said, from a betting perspective you’re not going to find a line like this one. Rigondeaux is a significant underdog at +340, while Lomachenko plays the heavy favorite at -380.

What gives?

Look, the line is almost unjustifiably in favor of Lomachenko. On the surface, it almost makes sense. The Ukrainian is eight years younger than his Cuban counterpart, will have a significant weight advantage as Rigondeaux is bumping up two weight classes to meet him, and Lomachenko has been recognized as one of the fiercest offensive dynamos you’ll see in boxing. Since losing his second pro fight to Orlando Salido in a case of “too much, too soon,” Lomachenko has run roughshod over his opponents. He made the previously unbeaten Nicholas Walters quit simply from being unable to compete with Lomachenko’s speed and skill. Gary Russell Jr. had little to no chance against Lomachenko’s superb boxing ability, and everyone else has been overmatched. Granted, Lomachenko is only 9-1 with 7 knockouts, but he’s amassed an amateur record of 396-1. He’s also taller by a couple of inches.

As for Rigondeaux, despite his technical superiority, he’s been criticized for being a “boring” fighter as he often waits for his opponent to attack before making his move. Unfortunately, he leaves little room for his opponents to get off any offense, which leaves boxing fans watching two guys stare at each other. However, when somebody is bold enough to attack, Rigondeaux has made them pay. Rigondeaux has a record of 17-0 with 11 knockouts, but hasn’t faced anybody worth writing home about since his 2013 dismantling of Nonito Donaire. And at the age of 37, Father Time is not on his side.

Given Lomachenko’s physical advantages, he should be the favorite. But this line is ridiculous and totally disrespecting Rigondeaux’s incredible ability. Lomachenko will surely have the speed advantage while also proving to be active. His footwork is impeccable as he is never out of position to throw a punch. The danger lies in Lomachenko overcommiting on his punches, underestimating Rigondeaux’s ability to counter and not giving enough credence to his Cuban foe’s power. What this may not be is a slugfest. Rather, something more nip-and-tuck as Lomachenko will test Rigondeaux early with his offensive dynamics. It’ll be up to Rigondeaux to gain Lomachenko’s respect by effectively countering. Despite the two-inch height advantage, Rigondeaux does possess a three-inch reach advantage. That is important for those moments when Lomachenko seeks to pull out after throwing one of his vaunted combinations.

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t take a shot with Rigondeaux. You could do worse than an undefeated two-time Olympic gold medalist. He may not have the special effects that Lomachenko has, but he’s damn good and could put himself in position to be recognized as the pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter in the world.

Another thing to keep an eye on is the 'under' 9.5 rounds at +170. Although these two are extraordinarily technical, mistakes can be made. If Andre Ward could finish Sergey Kovalev with a body shot, anything can happen. Lomachenko could overwhelm Rigondeaux with his speed and power to earn a stoppage in the middle rounds. Or, Lomachenko could get caught by trying to be too aggressive. It’s not totally out of the realm of possibility that this ends before the final bell.

Ultimately, your money should be on Rigondeaux simply because the line is begging for you to take a swing. This isn’t Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor where the underdog clearly has nothing more than a puncher’s chance. There are worse matchups with a much closer line than Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux, so take it while you can.

comment here