Oh, How The Mighty Have Fallen
Boxing is a sport in which one saying always applies, "Make or Break. The sport has a habit of making some of the biggest sports stars to this day, be it from Mike Tyson to Oscar De la Hoya and all fighters who wish to make their mark on the sport will always find something that will make or break their career. Sometimes it comes from a fight against an unknown, suffering a knockdown or not winning as easily as they should of. But the obvious make and break is losing to an unknown.
Vic Darchinyan, 29-1 (23), had been a dominant force in the flyweight division. With his unorthodox style and his sometimes brash attitude, he was a force to be reckoned with.
Training under former world champion Jeff Fenech, Darchinyan was initially fighting mainly on small Australian boxing cards, and the world had not yet heard of "The Raging Bull." Anyone who lived Australia had barely heard of him, let alone the rest of the world, until Darchinyan's big break came when he got his chance to fight for a world title in December of 2004.
He would be facing a man with an impressive resume, 30 wins and zero losses, IBF Champion Irene Pacheco, a true veteran of the sport and someone who could make or break Darchinyan on the world stage.
For most of the fight, it didn't look too good for the Armenian born Aussie. He was doing what was expected, coming forward and throwing relentless bombs. It was just too bad that Pacheco knew his way around the ring and was boxing his way to a decision.
As viewers witnessed fireworks flying into the sky, distracting judges and fans from the fireworks in the ring. The fight was called to a halt after the eighth round until the fire works ceased. Pacheco's corner was doing their best to keep their man warm so that he could resume his winning ways.
Unfortunately for Pacheco, this was not to be. Darchinyan raced to the middle of the ring, showing that the break had only made him better. Big punches that weren't landing before were now like heat seeking missiles and were taking their toll. The champion tasted the canvas in the tenth and was looking exhausted.
The eleventh round was where this fight would end, Pacheco pounded into submission and the referee decided the fight was over. Although controversial, Vic Darchinyan had won himself the IBF Flyweight title.
Although fans throughout the world had been impressed with Darchinyan's style, it was technically flawed. His style was a basic example of what not to do, yet his power to end a fight at any moment and his love of a good brawl had won them over. Darchinyan's name was now in the mix in what was turning out to be a very exciting division.
Darchinyan would go on to add the IBO Flyweight title from Mzukisi Sikali via an eighth round TKO when Sikali told the referee no more in March, 2005. The IBO is not considered to be a very impressive title by die hard boxing fans, but a world title none the less.
Darchinyan would defend his IBF title six times, five of them were won by TKO and one by a controversial technical decision. Darchinyan would then face a man relatively unknown to many boxing fans, the brother of a man Darchinyan had been given a controversial technical decision over, Glenn Donaire, in October, 2006.Darchinyan appeared to have knocked Glenn Donaire down with a fierce punch but for one reason or an another, it had been ruled a headbutt and was declared a technical decision.
So naturally, his brother Nonito Donaire was eager for this fight to take place, which had a Kostya Tszyu-Vince Phillips vibe. Phillips had come down in weight, just like Nonito, to take on the champion and managed to TKO Tszyu. And that's exactly what happened in the Darchinyan-Nonito Donaire fight in July of this year.
Boxing experts around the world had always claimed that Darchinyan was begging to be outboxed. It was just a question of who could do it.
Nonito entered the ring a man unintimidated by the reputation of the Raging Bull and left the IBF Flyweight and IBO Flyweight champion of the world. How? He showed slickness and ability to take a punch, simply outboxing Darchinyan until the fifth round in which the undefeated champion took a massive left hook to the chin and planted him on his back. He arose but only to stumble to the ropes like a man who could not stand. Darchinyan was not invincible, but had never even looked hurt until now.
What beat Darchinyan? Was it his overconfidence or was it his technically flawed style? I would say both. He came into his fight against Nonito sounding very cocky and very obsessed with knockouts. His style is a very powerful one, with his stance being crouched and legs far apart, it was obvious what he was trying to do.
The southpaw would paw with his right hand whether or not he planned to throw a jab or not. His right hand was always held too far away from his chin, leaving him wide open for say, a left hook. People often say, why does he have that hand so far out? The answer is simple, he loved power and power comes from a combination of leg strength and movement of the hips. So by holding his right hand out, it gave him more weight to throw with his left.
As the saying goes, power is all well and good but it does nothing if you don't hit. With very little head movement and flawed foot work, Darchinyan was never going to be un-hittable. So it was only a matter of time until a big shot was going to tag him and no surprise that it was a left hook.
Darchinyan now faced with something that could make or break his career, he has to come back more improved. He did one thing, he came back just recently in a fight against another unknown, Federico Catubay on October 20. Catubay may be unknown but he proved to be a very tough fighter. Darchinyan rained bombs on the tough Philipino all night, dropping him in the seventh and eleventh rounds but still he continued to fight until his we stopped in the 12th.
Impressive showing for Catubay, he was tougher then what anyone thought he could have been. Darchinyan however looked like nothing had changed. Still looking for the big left hand, holding his right hand out, begging to be tagged, even rocked in the sixth by a big right hand but the ropes saved him from the canvas.
He had not learnt his lesson at all. Fans had hoped he would of cleaned his style up, maybe just a little bit. At least thought he would hold his hands a more traditional way, yet nothing.
So how the mighty have fallen; will Darchinyan be able to rise again to be the force he was only just months ago?
The answer lies in the arms of Billy Hussein, Darchinyan's trainer and in the arms of the fighter himself. Hussein has the tough task of breaking old habits that leave Darchinyan wide open and begging to be outboxed.
And Darchinyan has an equally tough task ahead of him, he has to change these habits or his career may very well fall.