On Saturday night, from The Theater at Madison Square Garden, in the first battle between two, two-time Olympic gold medalists, Vasiliy Lomachenko defeated Guillermo Rigondeaux by TKO in the sixth round after Rigondeaux said he couldn't come out from the seventh round to retain his WBO junior lightweight championship.
Here are three things we learned from the event:
The new pound-for-pound king
Some boxing purists felt Lomachenko was already the best fighter in the world, but the majority felt he needed to face a high-caliber, big-name fighter to vault him into the spot.
Not only did Lomachenko beat Rigondeaux, he made a two-time Olympic gold medalist, current 122-pound world champion and undefeated fighter quit on his stool.
Lomachenko dominated from the outset. He was able to do what no one before him had done: Rigondeaux's game is to make fighters swing and miss. This time around, Lomachenko gave the 37-year-old a dose of his own medicine.
When Rigondeaux puts his head down or get his opponent in the clinch in a fight, normally the foe would get frustrated, but not Lomachenko. In this fight, Lomachenko found the angle and somehow connected with power and precision. This was previously unheard of, and shows how talented Lomachenko really is.
This is the fourth consecutive fight in which Lomachenko has made his opponent retire. His superior footwork, power and ability to beat opponents into submission puts Lomachenko — after only 11 fights — in the category of the best fighter in the world, and by a wide margin.
Cracking the wall
In between rounds of the co-main event, a lockerroom video showed Lomachenko voicing concerns to referee Steve Willis about Rigondeaux’s holding and clinching. In the second round, when Rigondeaux started to hold and press his head into "Hi-Tech's" chest, Lomachenko would throw short right hooks, and on one occasion connected on a hard straight right hand while Rigo was expecting a break.
From watching, you can tell it frustrated Rigondeaux starting in the third round. Lomachenko got through the guard and connected on a sensational triple uppercut. It was that moment in which Lomachenko had the fight won.
Rigondeaux kept holding Lomachenko’s arms and not letting go, trying to frustrate Lomachenko: including after the fifth round when it happened again and Rigondeaux wasn’t going to let go. Lomachenko finally broke free and hit Rigondeaux with a short left hand.
When you have never been tested and someone breaks through that previously unbreakable wall, anger sets in.
Rigondeaux's legacy tarnished
Heading into this fight, we had said Rigondeaux's legacy was on the line. The Cuban needed to dig deep down and make a definitive statement to show everyone how great he is.
Instead, from the opening bell, we saw Rigondeaux stick to his normal style, which wasn't going to get the job done vs. Lomachenko. Inbetween rounds, his corner was telling him to open up, be aggressive, fight outside of who you normally are.
For some reason that only Rigondeaux could truly explain, he quit on the stool. He complained of a hand injury that happened in the second round.
Let's be realistic: Rigondeaux got thoroughly dominated and had no answers from Lomachenko's non-stop offense. Could Rigondeaux have made a comeback? Anything is possible. We will never know.
Rigondeaux tarnished everything he's accomplished by taking the easy way out which he's done his whole career. The going got tough and Rigondeaux took the easy way out.
Steven Muehlhausen is an MMA and boxing writer and contributor for Sporting News. You can listen to his podcast, "The Fight Junkies" here. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and can find him on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.