Vic Darchinyan doesn’t carry many pounds with him, but all 115 of them have to be put in the top-10 of any legitimate pound-for-pound list now.
In back-to-back fights, the Argumentative Aremenian destroyed two of the best junior bantamweights in the world and he did it not by simply overpowering them. He did it by out boxing them. Well, to be fair, he did both.
Up until he was knocked cold by Nonito Donaire a year and a half ago, Darchinyan seemed to think defense was a waste of his time. He was about knocking people out, apparently believing the power he carried with him somehow made him invulnerable to anything that might come back in his direction.
Some guys learn from such foolish mistakes. Others do not. Vic Darchinyan has clearly learned plenty, including how to box and how to avoid engaging in one senseless brawl after another.
This is not to say he doesn’t still come to the arena with only one thought in mind – which is to disengage his opponent from his senses. But how he does it is the difference.
Cristian Mijares was on nearly every pound-for-pound list before he met Darchinyan. He is a consummate boxer, a fighter who understands angles and movement. Yet he seemed to understand nothing about Darchinyan when they met last Nov. 1 except that he had no answers to the problems he posed.
Darchinyan battered him from one side of the ring to the other, seldom being hit while rattling Mijares time after time before the bout was stopped after nine one-sided rounds. It would be unfair to say the victory itself was an upset but the manner in which it came – with Darchinyan not only out powering Mijares but cleverly out boxing him as well – was a revelation.
Last weekend, Darchinyan stepped in with hard-nosed Jorge Arce in a fight boxing aficionados had longed hope to see. What they saw in the end was not what they expected because Darchinyan took Arce apart in the same brutal way he had Mijares, sending him to the hospital an hour after the fight was stopped after 11 rounds because Arce’s blood pressure was rising and falling dangerously and he was complaining of pain behind his eyes and ear.
No wonder why if you saw the beating Darchinyan (32-1-1, 26 KO) gave him. But, again, what was most impressive was Darchinyan’s new-found boxing ability. His use of angles, movement, shoulder rolls and slight body shifts to keep himself out of harm’s way while still within punching distance were notable and a marked improvement on what he was the night he waded into a left hook from Donaire and went to sleep.
“He’s a lot like that Lazy Susan you see at the Chinese restaurants,’’ said Gary Shaw, Darchinyan’s promoter, after the stoppage of Arce. “You reach for the prime rib, all of a sudden it moves to the other side. He takes an opponent’s game plan completely away.’’
Ceretainly he did that to both Mijares and Arce, two very different types of fighters. Where Mijares is smooth as Three-in-1 oil, Arce is all rough edges and rough housing. Didn’t matter. Neither guy belonged in the same ring with this Vic Darchinyan.
For weeks Darchinyan and Arce had taunted each other. Both like to talk and both like to fight. One has to wonder if Arce still feels that way after the beating he took.
Arce had said he hoped there would be a lot of blood in the fight because it inspired him. If that was the case then he should have been more inspired than anyone who heard Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream’’ speech live because he was covered in his own plasma by the time Dr. Paul Wallace stepped in after 11 rounds and told referee Lou Moret, in essence, “What are you waiting for?’’ and stopped the fight.
None too soon, except in the opinion of Arce, which only proved how much damage had been done to him if he really thought there was a point to sending him out for another three-minute beating.
Vic Darchinyan calls himself “The Raging Bull,’’ which considering his lack of physical stature seems a bit of an exaggeration. Then he starts talking or fighting (often times doing both at once) and it all makes terrible sense.
Just like it now makes sense to include him on those pound-for-pound lists boxing fans love to argue over. He may not be at the top of them as long as Manny Pacquiao is around but he’s already making noise about wanting to face another brawler who’s not too far down that list – super bantamweight champion Israel Vazquez.
The two of them were taking pictures together after the fight. If they ever face each other, the pictures after that fight will very likely be x-rays.
If Vic Darchinyan keeps boxing the way he has been lately, they very likely won’t be his.