Super-flyweight champ Vic “The Raging Bull” Darchinyan sounds like a nice guy, but you somehow get the feeling he’d knock you silly if you kicked his dog or teased his girl.
He’s got the right demeanor for a prize fighter. He’s cocky but polite, honest but with a chip on his shoulder the size of a Lexus. He talks tough at times, but doesn't have a problem backing it up.
Saturday night at the Agua Caliente Casino-resort in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Darchinyan will defend his WBA and WBC super-flyweight titles against Mexico’s Rodrigo “Gator” Guerrero (13-1, 9 K0s) on SHOWTIME. It’s one of those fights that holds a lot of promise. Darchinyan seldom disappoints fight fans. Watch for a war to break out.
Does Darchinyan know anything about Guerrero? Does he care?
“I know nothing about him. Nothing,” said the Raging Bull from his training camp in Los Angeles. “I just know he beat some good opponents, including Luis Maldonado. I fought Maldonado and stopped him but I thought he was a good fighter. But I really don’t know anything about him.”
He does know Guerrero switches from southpaw to orthodox, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for Darchinyan (33-2-1, 27 KOs), a southpaw himself. He doesn’t let the little things get in the way. Any problem comes up, he’d just as soon punch his way through it. It usually works for him.
An Armenian now fighting out of Australia, he said he started training in California about two weeks ago to get used to the weather and get ready for his fifth consecutive appearance on Showtime. And it might be his last appearance at 115 pounds.
“I think this is going to be my last fight (at super-flyweight),” he said. “I want to go up. I want to show I’m more powerful at different weight divisions.”
We were about two minutes into the interview when Darchinyan brought up the name of WBA interim super-flyweight champ Nonito Donaire, who stopped Darchinyan three years ago with a left hook that was one of the prettier ones you’ll ever see. It was Darchinyan’s first time down and the only time he’s been stopped. And the loss hasn’t gone away.
“I challenged Donaire (to a rematch) and was waiting for him to come back,” Darchinyan said. “But he’s a chicken and I’m not going to wait anymore for him. He doesn’t deserve it. Not anymore. I made him and he knows that if I fight him (again), I’m going to break him. But I’m not going to mention his name anymore. He‘s gone for me.”
Not completely. Some old wounds won’t heal.
Darchinyan doesn‘t understand how Donaire can be ranked among the top ten pound-for-pound fighters in the world by The Ring (He’s No. 6 on the list) when he hasn‘t “beaten any good opponents in three years.”
“What does the pound-for-pound ranking mean? “ Darchinyan said. “How can they put him in the top ten? I’ve beaten three champions in a row - (Dmitry) Kirillov, (Cristian) Mijares and (Jorge) Arce. Why are they putting (Donaire) in the pound-for-pound? I don’t want to mention his name any more.”
Before he took the fight with Guerrero, Darchinyan said he threw out challenges to both the IBF and WBO super-flyweight champs and even challenged some of the top contenders in the bantamweight division. When he didn‘t get any takers, he decided to take SHOWTIME’S offer and fight Guerrero.
“I did my full preparation for this fight,” he said. “I‘ve been training eight to ten weeks and I feel pretty good. I‘m strong and sharp.”
At 34, Darchinyan said he feels like he‘s 22.
“I still love to go to the gym and do my full exercise,” he said. “And I’m pretty excited about this fight. Every fight I have I feel stronger and stronger. I believe I can use my skills and overpower and overcome him. You’re going to see how fast I am. I’m not getting sick of boxing, I’m having fun. I love boxing.”
Boxing loves guys like Darchinyan.