Jesus Cuellar stops Vic Darchinyan in Round 8
Featherweight contender Jesus Cuellar scored an eighth-round stoppage against Vic Darchinyan on Saturday in Carson, California, dropping the cagey 39-year-old veteran before the former flyweight and junior bantamweight titleholder’s corner threw in the towel forcing referee Tom Taylor to halt the NBC/NBC Sports Net-televised bout at 1:04 of Round 8.
Cuellar (27-1, 21 knockouts), a 28-year-old pressure fighter from Argentina, started fast as he normally does but THE RING’s No. 9-rated featherweight, found Darchinyan to be a difficult target for his power punches early in the bout. Darchinyan (40-8-1, 29 KOs) utilized lateral movement to partially neutralize Cuellar’s forward-moving aggression and to help set up traps for his younger, stronger opponent. The Armenian southpaw landed hard lefts that appeared to stun his fellow left-hander in Rounds 1, 3 and 4.
However, the relentless pressure and higher workrate of Cuellar made for an uncomfortable pace for Darchinyan, who suffered back-to-back KO losses to Nonito Donaire and Nicholas Walters in 2013 and 2014 and is clearly in the final stages of his impressive career. Cuellar wore down the older, smaller fighter in Rounds 6 and 7, and effectively ended matters when he dropped Darchinyan with a big overhand left early in Round 8. Darchinyan got up on unsteady legs, prompting his corner to toss in the towel, but Taylor, who was watching the wobbled veteran closely (and was probably looking to stop it at any moment), had his back to the corner.
The fight continued a few seconds longer than it should have, as Cuellar nailed Darchinyan against the ropes a few times before Taylor called a halt to the bout.
The loss, Darchinyan’s third in his last four bouts (all by knockout), should signal the end to what arguably amounts to a hall-of-fame pro career that began almost 15 years ago. Darchinyan won major world titles at flyweight (making six defenses of the IBF belt) and junior bantamweight (where he unified three titles), and he was a top-10 contender at bantamweight, where he fought the best 118-pound fighters of this era. Darchinyan fought the best lighter-weight opposition of the past 10 years, never avoided a dangerous contender and usually made for entertaining fights.