Darchinyan-Arce: Head to head
VIC DARCHINYAN vs. JORGE ARCE
When: Saturday, Feb. 7
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, Calif.
TV: Showtime, 9 p.m. PT/ET
Weight: Junior bantamweight (115 pounds)
Title(s) at stake: Darchinyan’s WBC, IBF and WBA belts
Also on the card: Antonio DeMarco vs. Almazbek Raiymkulov, 12 rounds, lightweights; Vanes Martirosyan vs. Billy Lyell, 10 rounds, junior middleweights.
Height / Reach: 5-5¾ / 64¾
Hometown: Sydney, Australian (from Armenia)
Turned pro: 2000
Record: 31-1-1 (25 knockouts)
Trainer: Vazgen Badalian
The Ring rating: No. 1 junior bantamweight
Titles: IBF flyweight (2004-07; lost it to Nonitio Donaire); IBF junior bantamweight (2008-present); WBC junior bantamweight (2008-present); WBA junior bantamweight (2008-present).
Biggest victories: Irene Pacheco, Dec. 16, 2004, KO 11 (to win IBF flyweight title); Dimitri Kirillov, Aug. 2, 2008, KO 5 (to win IBF junior bantamweight title); Cristian Mijares, Nov. 1, 2008, KO 9 (to win WBC and WBA junior bantamweight titles).
Only loss: Nonito Donaire, July 7, 2007, KO by 5 (to lose IBF flyweight title).
Height / reach: 5-6 / 69
Hometown: Los Mochis, Mexico
Turned pro: 1996
Record: 51-4-1 (39 knockouts)
Trainer: Tiburcio Garcia
The Ring rating: No. 6 junior bantamweight
Titles: WBO junior flyweight (1998-99; lost it to Michael Carbajal); WBC junior flyweight (2002-'04; vacated title to campaign at flyweight).
Biggest victories: Yo Sam Choi, July 6, 2002, KO 6 (for Choi’s WBC junior flyweight title); Hussein Hussein, March 19, 2005, KO 10 (WBC flyweight title eliminator); Rafael Conception, Sept. 15, 2008, KO 9 (for interim WBA junior bantamweight title).
Biggest losses: Michael Carbajal, July 31, 1999, KO 11 (for Arce’s WBO lightweight title; Cristian Mijares, April 14, 2007, UD 12 (for Mijares’ WBC junior bantamweight title).
Skills: Neither fighter is sublimely skilled, although they certainly are solid, well-schooled boxers. Darchinyan showed some savvy as he wore down – and ultimately knocked out – Cristian Mijares in November. Meanwhile, Mijares demonstrated that Arce is a limited boxer when they met in 2007. Arce couldn’t touch Mijares the entire fight. Also, Arce has had difficulty with southpaws, which doesn’t bode well for him.
Power: This isn’t as one-sided as you might think. Yes, Darchinyan is immensely strong for such a small fighter. He can hit ÔÇª hard. He has 25 knockouts against 33 opponents (75 percent). However, Arce has a comparable knockout ratio; he has stopped 39 of 56 opponents (70 percent). He can whack, too. The difference might be that Darchinyan has fought primarily at junior bantamweight while many of Arce’s KOs came at lighter weights.
Speed: Both are typical of good little fighters; they have quick feet and hands. Neither is blazing fast.
Defense: Darchinyan is no defensive wizard but his awkward southpaw style makes him difficult to hit, as Mijares found out. Nonito Donaire managed to land a huge left hook, which put Darchinyan out, but that was an aberration. Arce doesn’t care if he gets hit, so it’s difficult to tell if he could avoid punches if he wanted to. Still, he takes a lot of shots in order to deliver them.
Experience: Arce is four years younger than Darchinyan but turned pro four years earlier. He’s been in involved in 12 major title fights, Darchinyan 11. Arce has fought outside his native Mexico 16 times, Darchinyan outside his home country of Australia nine times. Arce fought for his first major title before Darchinyan turned pro. Darchinyan was an accomplished amateur, Arce wasn’t.
Chin: Arce, who typically fights toe to toe, hasn’t been knocked out since he fought big-punching Michael Carbajal in 1999. He’s had 32 fights since then. Clearly, the man can take a punch. Darchinyan was stopped with one punch by Donaire a year and a half ago. His chin is a question mark.
Conditioning: Both fighters throw a lot of hard punches from beginning to end, meaning they’re in shape when they fight. Don’t expect either to peter out for lack of conditioning. If anything, it’ll be punches that wear them down.
Wear and tear: Darchinyan has a had a few tough fights but generally has overwhelmed his opponents. He’s a fairly fresh fighter, even at 33. Arce has engaged in many brawls, the type of brawls that take something out of a fighter. He’s only 29; obviously, he can still fight. However, the wear and tear could begin to show somewhere in the middle rounds.
Corner: Tibercio Garcia, Arce’s trainer, has a track record. He also worked with Jose Luis Castillo. Vazgen Badalian, Darchinyan’s trainer, reportedly was an experienced amateur trainier in Armenia. He worked with Darchinyan for 15 years when he fought as an amateur.
Outcome: These fighters know only one way to do combat – move straight ahead and throw a lot of punches. For several rounds, it could be a war to remember as both fighters are likely to land their share of big shots. Ultimately, though, it will come down to Darchinyan’s strength and the wear and tear on Arce’s body. Darchinyan will wear the challenger down and then take him out.
Prediction: Darchinyan KO 8