Monday, December 05, 2022  |



Darchinyan wants second shot at Donaire but ready to move on


If you want to get Vic Darchinyan riled, just mention Nonito Donaire.

No, it’s not that he was knocked out by Donaire in 2007, the Armenian-born brawler’s first of two losses. Darchinyan seems to have accepted that. What angers him is that he believes Donaire doesn’t want a rematch — in part because Donaire scheduled a fight in May — and that his conqueror is perceived by some as one of the best fighters in the world.

As his promoter, Gary Shaw, put it: “He has only one fight between his ears: Donaire.”

Darchinyan still holds out hope that he’ll get the opportunity to avenge the loss but insists he won’t dwell on it. And, as for the alleged inflated perception of Donaire, he said he no longer pays attention to pound-for-pound lists.

“I don’t care anymore,” said Darchinyan, who defends his 115-pound title against Rodrigo Guerrero on Saturday on Showtime. “Donaire hasn’t beaten anyone except me. I don’t believe anymore in the Top 10. It’s all a joke. I just want to fight, to knock out my opponents. I love to fight. I’ll fight anyone.”

Donaire won’t fight anyone, Darchinyan said, which is why he’s baffled by THE RING and other media outlets that have Donaire on their pound-for-pound lists.

Darchinyan, on some pound-for-pound lists himself before he was KO’d by Donaire, pointed out that he has fought Z Gorres, Dmitry Kirillov, Jorge Arce, Christian Mijares and Joseph Agbeko while Donaire “always picks guys lighter than him.”

And, indeed, Donaire has expressed some frustration that he hasn’t fully capitalized on his victory over Darchinyan.

“I don’t know what these commentators see,” Darchinyan said over the phone from Agua Caliente, Calif., not far from the site of Saturday’s fight in Rancho Mirage. “Donaire in the pound-for-pound Top 10? He beat me. That’s it. I fought four world champions after Donaire. I’m always looking for the best opponents.

“If he believes he’s better than me, he’s supposed to fight me. This is his last chance, after this fight. He has only one week to decide to fight me. If not, I’m moving up in weight.”

Added Shaw: “The question is, does Donaire, does (promoter Bob) Arum want him to be only a Pinoy Power fighter? To do niche fights? Or does he want to get on a big stage and fight Vic Darchinyan?”

For the record, Donaire has expressed interest in a rematch with Darchinyan (33-2-1, 27 knockouts) but he’s also considering other options, such as bantamweight titleholder Fernando Montiel or Arce.

Cameron Dunkin reiterated on Tuesday that he and Donaire are willing to discuss a rematch if and when Darchinyan beats the relatively inexperienced Guerrero (13-1-1, 9 KOs). Dunkin also said Darchinyan’s mouth doesn’t help matters.

“I don’t know how many times we have to say it: Nonito will fight anyone, Montiel, Arce, Darchinyan, even Juan Manuel Lopez,” Dunkin said. “ÔǪ Darchinyan was mouthing off about fighting Nonito before and then he got beat by Agbeko. He should shut his mouth and worry about winning his next fight.

“Nonito doesn’t call people out like that. He’s fighting again on May 8 [against an undetermined opponent]. After that, we’re available.”

Darchinyan blames himself for the loss to Agbeko, a unanimous decision at 118 pounds last July.

The temperamental fighter apparently was angered by physical contact with Agbeko at the weigh-in and Darchinyan brought that anger into the ring, going after a knockout from the opening bell. Ultimately, he failed to land a big shot and was worn down by a bigger fighter.

Shaw didn’t hold back in his assessment of Darchinyan’s performance.

“I thought he fought a stupid fight against Agbeko,” he said. “ÔǪ He didn’t fight the right fight. They kept telling him that in his corner but he didn’t listen. He wanted to kill him because he laid his hands on him at the weigh-in. He came back and destroyed his next opponent (Tomas Rojas in December) though.”

No one who has followed Darchinyan is surprised that he would lose his cool against Agbeko. However, he says he’s learned his lesson.

Darchinyan’s instinct is to brawl — hence his high knockout ratio — but he’s also a good and very awkward boxer, which presents an unusual challenge for his opponents. He acknowledged that he must remember that from now on. Darchinyan, it seems, is maturing at 34 years old.

“I was silly,” he said, referring to the Agbeko fight. “It wasn’t because he’s better than me. I was just very impatient. I thought I would knock him out with one punch and all my punches missed. He didn’t feel my power. I didn’t touch him. I wanted to knock him out.

“Believe me, it will never happen again. I need to be calm, to wait for my time.”

Darchinyan, as confident as ever, said he has no qualms about moving back up to 118 or higher in spite of the setback against Agbeko. He likes the prospect of fighting Montiel himself or perhaps the winner of the Abner Mares-Yonnhy Perez fight on May 22.

The point is to make some good money, collect more belts and, he confessed, “have my name mentioned as one of the greatest champions.”

And the only way to do that, he said, “is to keep fighting the best.”

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]