Wednesday, May 31, 2023  |


Darchinyan-Arce: Significant, compelling

Fighters Network

Jorge Arce (left) and Vic Darchinyan both weighed in Friday at the 115-pound limit for their fight on Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Photo / Chris Farina-Top Rank

Vic Darchinyan and Jorge Arce are at different places in their careers.

Darchinyan, who faces Arce on Saturday night in Anaheim, Calif. on Showtime, is on a roll. The Armenian-born Australian has quickly rebounded from a one-punch knockout loss to Nonito Donaire in 2007 with KOs of two quality opponents.

His goal is to build toward even bigger fights in higher weight divisions and earn consideration for pound-for-pound status.

Arce, the popular Mexican fighter, is trying to prove he isn’t finished as an elite contender. He was badly outclassed by Cristian Mijares (the same Mijares who was KO’d by Darchinyan) in 2007 and has won five straight since, although not against big-name opponents.

He could resurrect his career with an upset on Saturday.

In the ring, however, Darchinyan and Arce, both of whom weighed in at the 115-pound limit Friday, are quite similar. They’re fearless and resilient offense-minded fighters who are willing to take risks to dish out punishment, which is the main reason this matchup is so compelling.

Between them, they’ve knocked out 64 of 89 opponents, a remarkable ratio for such little fighters. And, with punches sure to fly in large numbers on Saturday, few believe this one will go the 12-round distance

Putting the significance of the fight aside, it undoubtedly will be entertaining.

“There is no extra show needed for this fight,” Arce said. “The fight speaks for itself. He’s a great champion and I’m a great champion. I know he is strong enough that he can knock me out with one punch. I know I can knock him out in one punch.

“There’s nothing else to add to this fight. It’s going to be great.”

Darchinyan (31-1-1, 25 knockouts) is as brash as they come. He respects none of his opponents and doesn’t hesitate to express it. He has been disrespecting Arce for several weeks now.

It’s not empty bluster, however. He delivers in the ring, usually in spectacular fashion. He’s a good boxer, probably better than he gets credit for, but his awkward style, the fact he’s left-handed and his unusual power are his principal weapons.

While his opponents try to figure out how to land punches, he’s busy beating the you know what out of them. That’s the recurring theme in his career.

He did slip up once. On July 7, 2007, Nonito Donaire knocked Darchinyan silly and out with a perfect left hook to the jaw. It was Darchinyan’s only setback but it had considerable impact on his reputation.

Suddenly, people were saying that Donaire exposed his limitations, that he obviously doesn’t have a good chin, that he wasn’t as great as he thinks he is. Darchinyan, as confident as any fighter, never bought into it.

He went 3-0-1 in his next four fights, the only blemish being a controversial draw with Z Gorres in Gorres’ home country of the Philippines that many believe Darchinyan won.

Undeterred, in his next two fights, Darchinyan stopped talented Dmitri Kirillov in five rounds to win the IBF junior bantamweight title and followed with perhaps the best performance of his career – a stunning ninth-round KO of Cristian Mijares during which he displayed some slick skills to go with his vaunted power.

Going into that fight, Mijares, an excellent boxer, was on many pound-for-pound lists. Clearly, Darchinyan, who became THE RING's No. 1-rated 115-pounder and added the WBC and WBA belts with the victory, was back and better than ever.

“I know he is a good fighter,” Darchinyan said of Arce, “but any opponent that I fight I tell him what I am going to do with him. Even with Mijares, I told him (that I was going to) break him down and smash him and I did. I tell every opponent. I am going to knock out all my opponents one by one.

“Every punch I am going to let (Arce) see colors, see stars. I know he is going to come up and I’m going to show all the world that I am the greatest. I am the guy who is always saying in the press conferences what I will do, and I follow through on it.”

Now he talks of taking on the best fighters in higher weight classes, including junior featherweights Israel Vasquez and Rafael Marquez, and, believe it or not, junior welterweight Manny Pacquiao.

Undoubtedly, Darchinyan believes he can beat anyone.

“I want to move up and fight Manny Pacquiao,” he said. “(But) I will take my time, one by one. I’m not going to rush. I’ll do it when I’m ready to go and that will be a good fight.”

Of course, Arce (51-4-1, 39 KOs) expects to spoil Darchinyan’s plans.

The former two-time junior flyweight titleholder, rated No. 6 by THE RING, has lost only once since 1999, the setback being a one-sided decision against Mijares. Obviously, Arce is doing something right.

However, the loss to Mijares – in which he was baffled by the slick southpaw – and the wear and tear of so many entertaining brawls have led many to suggest he’s declining even thought he’s only 29.

That includes some of his fellow Mexicans.
One reporter for a newspaper in Oaxaca pointed to perhaps the most-taxing war of his career, a scintillating 10th-round knockout of Hussein Hussein in 2005.

“After the Hussein Hussein fight, ‘El Travieso' has never been the same,” Hesiquio Balderas said in a Showtime poll that favored Darchinyan 42-6. “He has had many wars, but, also, he is well known here in Mexico for his celebrity lifestyle. He is not taken very seriously as a fighter by the fans anymore.”

So this would seem to be one of the two things for Arce: An ill-advised matchup against a bigger, stronger and better opponent that will end in disaster or a golden opportunity to turn around his image in an instant.

If he wins, he walks away with three major belts and becomes bigger than ever.

“I am very excited for this fight and thankful for the opportunity that (promoter) Bob Arum has given me,” Arce said. “I know this is a fight that will bring back my credibility. I know a lot of people don’t think I’m at this level anymore, but this will give me the chance to prove that I am.

“I’m going to prove everyone wrong. I think I will knock him out.”

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]