HOW THEY PICK ’EM: NO BULL!
EXPERTS LOVE DARCHINYAN TO BEAT AGBEKO, BECOME THREE-DIVISION WORLD CHAMPION
THIS SATURDAY, JULY 11, at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast)
LIVE ON SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING
NEW YORK (July 8, 2009) – If the media members who participated in the SHOWTIME Media Prediction Poll have called it correctly, Vic “Raging Bull” Darchinyan will walk out of the ring a five-time world champion with a victory over Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko. A triumph also would make Darchinyan a three-division world champ – at 112, 115 and 118 pounds.
Agbeko (26-1, 22 KOs), the International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight champion, will defend against Darchinyan (32-1, 26 KOs) in the main event this Saturday, July 11, live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast) from the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla.
The matchup between two of the hardest-hitting, pound-for-pound boxers in the world could end with one punch. Both fighters have whopping knockout percentages. Agbeko has won inside the distance 81 percent of the time while Darchinyan has won by knockout 76 percent of the time.
One thing is certain: Raging Bull certainly didn’t take a tune-up in King Kong.
Still, Darchinyan was a landslide winner in the SHOWTIME poll, garnering 22 of the 28 predictions. Most predicted a knockout for the Australian-based Armenian bomber, while only three predicted the fight would go to the scorecards.
The co-feature on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING will showcase two once-beaten, world-ranked No. 4 contenders when emerging lightweight Antonio DeMarco (20-1, 14 KOs), of Tijuana, Mexico, meets Anges “Baby Face” Adjaho (25-1, 14 KOs), from Benin, Africa, now fighting out of Geneva, N.Y., in a 12-round bout.
How the media see the scheduled 12-round Agbeko-Darchinyan world title fight:
Robert Morales, Los Angeles Newspaper Group (Darchinyan): “Agbeko has fought four times since coming off of a 2 1/2-year hiatus. Two of the guys had records of 0-1 and 10-4-1. I'm not convinced he is going to be able to handle the power of Darchinyan, who is one of the hardest hitters in the world, pound-for-pound. That, coupled with Darchinyan's ongoing hunger, is going to result in a stoppage by Darchinyan --- probably in the middle rounds.”
Sharon Robb, South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Darchinyan): “Darchinyan will win. There is too much on the line for him not to. The Aussie knocks King Kong out in the fifth round in a punishing and entertaining round.”
Steve Kim, Maxboxing.com (Darchinyan): “I like Darchinyan's southpaw stance and newly improved ability to evade punches. Vic is victorious by late stoppage.”
J. Michael Falgoust, USA Today (Darchinyan): “Agbeko gives up his height and reach advantages by falling in when he punches. He has a good right hand, but Darchinyan's hand speed is better and the southpaw's straight left should land first. Darchinyan won't have to put himself in danger much. If he counterpunches, Agbeko will run himself into the right hook and knock himself out. He'll never see it coming. Darchinyan KO 9.”
T.K. Stewart, BoxingScene.com (Darchinyan): “While both guys have impressive records, it is Darchinyan that has faced and beaten a much higher level of opposition. In my view that will be the big difference. Vic is at or near his mental and physical peak as a prizefighter and his confidence is at an all-time high. Because Agbeko is the slightly larger man (and is probably the hungrier fighter), he’ll likely pose Vic with a very strong challenge early on. However, as the fight passes the midway point, Vic's experience and punching power will prove to be the difference. I see him stopping Agbeko somewhere after the eighth or ninth round.’’
Ron Borges, Boston Herald (Darchinyan): “It’s going to be a tough fight. Darchinyan is going to get hit and he is going to get hurt, but not as badly as the other guy. Darchinyan wins by TKO 7.”
Chris Cozzone, FightNews.com (Agbeko): “Someone's got to do it, so put me down for Agbeko - mid to late round KO.”
Jake Donovan, BoxingScene.com (Darchinyan): “I like Darchinyan and fairly big in this one, but I’m not sure his power completely follows him up, even if it is only three pounds. Agbeko is tough, but I believe a bit overrated due to his handling of a very inactive and undisciplined Luis Perez. Vic is the all-around better fighter and it will show as he earns a decision in this fan-friendly fight.”
Ramon Aranda, 411mania.com (Darchinyan): “Darchinyan's on a roll and despite him moving up in weight, I don't see enough from Agbeko to think that the Raging Bull loses this fight. That being said, I expect it to be competitive with Darchinyan taking a decision.”
Lyle Fitzsimmons, The Sports Network (Darchinyan): “A toughie. Agbeko is a legit bantamweight who's knocked out legit bantamweights, albeit none with the name cache of the guys Darchinyan has tangled with. And Vic is the sort of fighter who can always overwhelm a foe, but can always catch a big KO shot coming in as well. Either way, it's got to a fun to watch... and I'll lean to Vic by a ninth-round TKO.”
Rick Reeno, BoxingScene.com (Darchinyan): “Darchinyan by KO in six. I think Darchinyan's ability to throw accurate punches is being underestimated in this fight. Agbeko is tough but he is easily baited to engage and often leaves himself wide open when he does.”
James Slater, EastsideBoxing.com (Agbeko): “This is a tough one to pick. Both men are big punchers, Darchinyan especially, but Agbeko is the naturally bigger man. Yet the fighter known as “King Kong’’ is also slower afoot than "The Raging Bull." Almost sure to end via a violent KO one way or the other -- with perhaps a couple of knockdowns scored by both men along the way. This one looks unlikely to reach the half way point. Agbeko will hold onto his belt in a thriller that is so good a rematch will be demanded by the fans. Agbeko prevails by stoppage inside six furious rounds.”
Paul Upham, SecondsOut.com (Darchinyan): “These are the types of fights boxing fans want to see: Knockout punchers trying to make history with a world title on the line. It should be explosive as long as it lasts, but Darchinyan's more accurate punches will prove to be the difference. Vic lands early and hits hard and wins by third round knockout.’’
Ernest Gabion, MaxBoxing.com (Darchinyan): “While Agbeko is the naturally bigger fighter, Vic has been on such a roll, going through much better opponents easier than what Agbeko has done. Darchinyan is a true pound-for-pound fighter and it will show when he wins by TKO 8 in a brutal war.”
Anson Wainwright, 15rounds.com (Darchinyan): “This has the makings of a terrific action fight. Darchinyan always brings it. He is confident and will go straight at Agbeko, which is fine by him as he also likes a scrap. Darchinyan stops Agbeko in the ninth in a war of attrition.”
Ben Thompson, FightHype.com (Darchinyan): “Even though he's moving up in weight, Darchinyan has faced the stiffer competition and has proven that he can bang and box with the best of them. With all the trash talk leading up to the fight, I'm not expecting this one to make it to the scorecards. Darchinyan wins by sixth-round TKO.”
Chris Robinson, 8 Count News (Agbeko): “This should be a terrific fight and I can’t wait. Vic is on a roll but I feel that a lot of people are looking past Agbeko and his abilities. He is the bigger man and he is both durable and aggressive. He can also punch a bit and he is the champion in this case. There will be fireworks before Agbeko retains his title by late round stoppage.”
Matt Knowles, 411mania.com (Darchinyan): “Agbeko is one of those fighters who isn't great at any one thing, but is pretty solid all-around. Darchinyan, on the other hand, is a dynamite puncher who just finished cleaning out the entire junior bantamweight division within a two-year stretch. Expect the “Raging Bull’’ to bring his power up to 118 and earn a convincing TKO win late in the bout as Agbeko slowly deteriorates from the two-fisted onslaught brought forth by Darchinyan.”
Patrick Mullin, 411mania.com (Darchinyan): “Agbeko's record is really flashy but I don't see a lot of substance within it. Vic is the proven commodity, and while he may be the naturally smaller guy he sure doesn't hit like a smaller guy. Darchinyan wins by KO.”
Michael Gonzalez, Boxingtalk.com (Darchinyan): “Long live Vic Darchinyan! He continues to back up his brash talk and suave swagger by seeking out and defeating the best - a novel idea in boxing these days. So far his awkward southpaw style, coupled with a crushing left hand, have proven too much for all but one of his opponents. He is, however, moving up in weight and is 33, geriatric in boxing’s lower weight classes. All the better. It makes the "King Kong" size challenge of Ghana's Agbeko that much more interesting. Though I favor Darchinyan, I wouldn't be shocked to see Agbeko outwork and outmuscle him. But in the end, Agbeko's style will give Darchinyan plenty of opportunities to land his massive left. But will Vic’s power be just as destructive at 118 as it was at 112 and 115? We'll find out. Darchinyan's underrated boxing ability will separate him in this one, setting up the punch that will separate Agbeko from his senses.”
Lee Bellfield, SaddoBoxing.com (Darchinyan): “I think we've got another absolute classic on our hands. Darchinyan, after proving he was the No. 1 super flyweight last time out, tries his hand at a higher weight division. I think he has faced the better competition but will have to watch out for Agbeko's heavy hands. I think Vic can win by late stoppage and if he does, surely being ranked alongside the likes of Manny Pacquiao in the pound for pound rankings is a must.”
Michael Amakor, FightKings.com (Darchinyan): “It's tempting to go for the bigger Agbeko, but Darchinyan has many advantages, including a southpaw stance that will allow him to connect with his trademark flurry of wild and badly intended punches that the confused Agbeko will not see coming. Darchinyan hits very hard too, and will be stronger after stepping up in weight. His confidence is also at an all time high after brutalizing first rate ex-champs Jorge Arce and Cristian Mijares in back-to-back fights. Darchinyan may suffer a flash knockdown from a straight right but will recover to land a left cross that will extinguish Agbeko’s lights before the championship rounds. Darchinyan by TKO.”
Ed Ludwig, www.BraggingRightsCorner.com (Darchinyan): “This will be explosive and is a can't miss fight for any fan. It is going to be give and take from start to finish. Both fighters are at the top of their game and picking a winner is a tough call but my gut tells me that Darchinyan will capture another title with a late 11th-round TKO. This has Fight of the Year candidate written all over it and I'm sure the viewers on SHOWTIME will crave a rematch.”
Joseph Bourelly, www.XLFights.com (Agbeko): “Agbeko will win this on speed, boxing skill and ring generalship. He is simply a better fighter at a higher weight class, and I see him knocking Darchinyan out inside of the 12-round distance.”
David Duenez, Therewillbebloodfightshow.com, (Darchinyan): “Even though he is moving up in weight, Darchinyan’s boxing skills have improved and he has shown to adjust to his foe's attack and to set up his money punches. Both are big punchers, yes, but only one is more in tune in solving puzzles rather than winging it. The “Raging Bull’’ will end the night with a TKO in the mid-rounds.”
Albert Alvarez, DiamondBoxing.com (Agbeko): “No doubt Darchinyan is one of the top power punchers in the sport pound-for-pound; however, I feel that Agbeko will be physically and mentally strong enough to handle the Darchinyan bombs. Early on the fight will belong to The Raging Bull, but midway through the tide will turn, once Agbeko's strength and heart begins to shine through. It will be then that Darchinyan will mentally become drained. “King Kong” wins an upset split decision in a classic.”
Keisha (El- Boxing Empress) Morrisey, JacBoxer Show (Agbeko): “Joseph "King Kong" Agbeko is improving. Darchinyan was stopped by Nonito Donaire.’’
Bill Scherer, Suite101 (Darchinyan): “Darchinyan is as unorthodox as ever, but more aware, defensively, thanks to getting starched by Nonito Donaire. He'll be too funky for Agbeko to get a good bead on and land enough to wear the Ghanaian down. The ref or Agbeko's corner will stop this one in the championship rounds.”
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV