Was it sad self delusion or admirable courage on display after the eighth round, as Rodrigo Guerrero, bloodied and beaten in every round prior, told a concerned ring physician that he'd prevail, and would be the “new world champion?” Guerrero's heart is to be lauded, however you interpret his misguided prediction, but Vic Darchinyan had heart, and much, much more in the skill department, as the vet schooled the plucky but overmatched young Mexican in the main event which ran on Showtime from the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, California on Saturday night.
The scorecards read 118-110, 117-111, 120-108, all for Evil Vic. Not even Gale Van Hoy, and every other judge who's turned in a wacky card in recent memory, could've decided otherwise, though I saw that last card as the best rendering of the event.
The Armenian Aussie Darchinyan (age 34; 115 pounds) rose to 33-2 in defense of his WBC and WBA super fly belts , while Guerrero (age 22; 114 pounds) dropped to 13-1.
In the first, the lefty Vic gave Guerrero, a virgin against lefties, a sour taste. He popped the right jab, and the hook, but didn't look scared. The challenger snapped a sharp jab, and sometimes lead with the right. Let's put it this way…the challenger didn't at all look in over his head. In the second, Guerrero bounced on his feet. He plowed ahead, and got whacked with some razor counters. Vic mixed it up, and was most often first. In the third, Vic looked to be completely confident that he had matters in control. In round four, Guerrero perked up. He got busier in the first part of the round, which only made Vic himself busier. Vic lured Guerrero in and then launched with a left uppercut. In the fifth, a butt opened a cut on Guerrero's right eye. In the sixth, Guerrero showed his oversized heart. But it was hard to picture a change of complexion. His corner called for “short punches” after the seventh, a round in which their man absorb some nasty shots. Vic teed off in the eighth, and a stop looked imminent, sooner rather than later. The doc looked hard at Guerrero, who said, “I'm going to be the new world champion.” Bless his resolve. To the close, Vic kept on moving, and he stayed in a groove.
In the TV opener, Aussie Lenny Zappavigna (23-0; 135 pounds) got the best of Ecuadorian Fernando Angulo (22-7; an over-the-contracted 138 pounds), and earned the vacant IBO lightweight crown with the UD12 victory. The crowd booed some at the 116-111, 114-113, 114-113 decision. Zappa looked the worse for wear, as he was cut over both eyes in the second half of the bout. The doc looked at the cut, from a butt, over Zappas' right lid, and let the bout go on. The scrap got ugly late, and both men rumbled ugly in round eight. The ref took a point from the loser in the ninth, for hitting on the break, which of course loomed XL large come decision time. A rematch is in order, for sure. Let's all recognize that Zappa had to dry himself out to make the weight, and Angulo didn't, so perhaps that variable should be factored heavily into the result…
Analyst Antonio Tarver afterwards said that he didn't like the decision, while colleague Steve Farhood said he didn't agree with the wide margin, and play by play man Nick Charles said he was surprised by the call.