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Darchinyan Starts Anew

(Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)
(Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)


At age 37 with a bushel full of belts in his collection and 44 fights on his ledger, Vic Darchinyan is by all accounts an old fighter. But as he faces Javier Gallo tonight (UniMas 11:30 ET/PT) from the Uni-Trade Stadium in Laredo, Texas, he is in certain ways very new. There have been a few changes surrounding the “Raging Bull.”
 
“I now have a new manager, new promoter,” he told Maxboxing a few days ago. “I signed with Top Rank. They have all the champions. I love it and I’m going to show everyone I can do better than before.”
 
What he did before wasn’t too shabby. Winning an IBF belt as a flyweight, basically unifying the super flyweight division and being very competitive as a bantamweight (historian Cliff Rold believes Darchinyan warrants serious Hall-of-Fame consideration for his career accomplishments). Most of this was achieved under the promotional banner of Gary Shaw, who made him a television staple, a rarity for a fighter his size on the premium cable networks.
 
In the past, they had pledged this union was iron-clad. But this being boxing, you see that “happily ever after” rarely happens in this racket.

When asked what happened with Shaw, Darchinyan responded, “Nothing happened. Champions are with Top Rank. That’s why I asked Top Rank to sign me up because they have these champions. They agreed with me and I love it; y’ know? It’s the best thing for me.”
 
It’s not so much that Top Rank has all the champions but what they do have are fighters like Nonito Donaire, Guillermo Rigondeaux and associations with beltholders like Victor Terrazas (the WBC 122-pound titlist, who is promoted by Zanfer). And signing him to the company was Frank Espinoza, who inked Darchinyan to a managerial deal last month.
 
“I thought that Vic still had a lot left in the gas tank. I liked what I saw in his last fight and after thinking about it, I just thought that the best situation for him was with Top Rank. I like some of the opportunities that are over there,” said Espinoza, who also handles the likes of Abner Mares, Antonio Orozco and the talented Oscar Valdez, who is also on this card this weekend in Laredo.
 
After consecutive 12-round losses to Anselmo Moreno and then Shinsuke Yamanaka (for the WBC bantamweight crown), Darchinyan breathed life back into his career by handling the undefeated Luis Orlando Del Valle with ease back in October on HBO. He says of that contest, “If I didn’t beat him, a kid with 16 fights, of course I’d think, ‘If I can’t beat a 16-fight professional fighter, I’d have to be retired. There’s no point anymore in being a boxer.’ It was an easy fight for me. I proved to everyone I was smarter than him and stronger and everything in every position; y’ know? That’s why I want to prove my point after this fight.
 
“I’m going to have my first fight with Top Rank, prove that I’m strong. It’s not a matter of age; it’s how you focus on training. And I want to prove to everyone I’m ready for a title fight and I’m ready to knock out all my opponents.”
 
Darchinyan still has his trademark confidence, which absolutely goes beyond bordering on cocky at times. In many ways, it’s one of his most endearing traits. He has a self-belief and determination that could fill the body of a heavyweight. In his mind, he has never actually lost a fight (yes, even the knockout loss to Nonito Donaire in 2007, he still refuses to admit defeat). But as you talk to him now, there is an extra dose of determination and excitement.
 
He is convinced the best is still yet to come.
 
“I’m thinking about myself like I’m two years old. What I did in the past, it has nothing to do with what I do in the future,” Darchinyan says.
 
The hope is that after this fight, he gets a crack at Terrazas.
 
“Yes, that’s exactly who I want,” said Darchinyan. “As soon as possible, I want Terrazas for the WBC title and any fight Top Rank gives me. I love to fight. Most of all, I want to unify the titles. I don’t want to sit and defend my titles; I never do. All my titles I won in the past, I challenge champions. I never lose my title defending my titles, not my belts.” Espinoza says, “That’s the best fight for Victor at this moment and that’s we’re aiming for after this fight. I’ll be speaking to Top Rank about it.”
 
Darchinyan is also the top-rated 122-pounder in the WBO, where Rigondeaux holds its title. But there’s one fight he really, really wants.
 
Donaire.
 
Ohhhh, I’d love to do that,” said Darchinyan, his thirst for that rematch basically oozing through the phone line. “Honestly, y’ know what happened? Because I said already many times in the news with Nonito Donaire in 2007, when I lost, I asked Gary Shaw, ‘Gary, please give me rematch.’ He told me, ‘No, you don’t have a contracted rematch.’ He didn’t give me a rematch. I take this too hard. But still, I stay with him. He didn’t give me a rematch with Donaire and after that, everywhere I mention him. I become unified world champion in one year, I told Donaire, ‘Let’s fight; let’s have rematch. You beat me, you will have three world titles. You will become undisputed world champion and if you beat me, I’ll give you all my purse.’ You know what his answer was? ‘I beat you. Why do I have to fight you?’”
 
Also clouding the issue at the time is that Shaw, who spurned by Donaire, refused to engage in any business with his former client.
 
Darchinyan continues, “Of course I want to fight him and I want to destroy him. I want to knock him out and send him to retirement.”
 
Now that both he and the “Filipino Flash” are under the same promotional banner, a rematch shouldn’t be too difficult to consummate. Regardless, Darchinyan is ready to begin the final chapters of what has been a productive and colorful career.
 
“I’m much smarter and at the same time, I’m more stronger than before. I’m not going to take my head, take the punch. I’m going to punish my opponent without letting them touch me. That’s what I want. I think I’m a better boxer now, a better fighter.”
 
SANTA CRUZ
 
Richard Schaefer, Golden Boy Promotions CEO, called the Maxboxing hotline (really, my office phone) to say the WBC gave them notice that Leo Santa Cruz was the mandatory challenger to Terrazas and the two sides have till June 7th to come to an agreement or this fight will go to a purse bid.
 
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out given the “Cold War” that exists. But as it relates to fights that are mandated by a sanctioning body, fights like Erislandy Lara (Golden Boy) vs. Vanes Martirosyan (Top Rank) have taken place recently.
 
In fact, this might be the only way to get these rival factions in the ring together.
 
But Espinoza pointed out to Maxboxing, “Well, [WBC Executive Secretary] Mauricio Sulaiman told me that since the top two contenders, Terrazas and [Cristian] Mijares, fought for that title that Vic would be moved up to number one since he was the third ranked contender. So what happened? We’ll have to discuss this with Top Rank and the WBC.”
 
JUNE 15TH
 
Here’s the ticket info for the June 15th show at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas that sees WBO featherweight beltholder Mikey Garcia against Juan Manuel Lopez (from a Top Rank press release):
 
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with PR Best Boxing, Foreman Boys Promotions and Tecate, tickets, priced at $200, $100, $60, $40 and $25, plus additional service fees, will go on sale this Saturday!  May 11 at 10:00 a.m. CT.  Tickets can be purchased at the American Airlines Center box office (Monday - Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT), online at Ticketmaster.com, by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000, or by visiting any Ticketmaster outlet (Fiesta Foods, Macy’s Wal-Mart and The Shops at Willowbend).
 
CHAVEZ JR.
 
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is slated to return August 3rd on HBO in Mexico City. What’s not finalized is just who he will be facing. At first it was thought to be the rugged Brian Vera (who tweeted last week that he had signed a contract). Then the word was that Chavez Jr. was more interested in facing Martin Murray, who recently lost a close decision to middleweight ruler Sergio Martinez in Argentina a couple of weeks ago.
 
Well, as of now, it comes down to this: Chavez can either fight Vera at a catchweight of 165 pounds or face Murray at the middleweight limit as this fight would be for a WBC interim title.
 
Does anyone trust this kid to actually make the 160-pound limit after this long of a layoff?
 
WEEKEND FLURRIES
 
The final NSAC numbers for Mayweather-Guerrero list 14,258 tickets sold, 139 tickets unsold and 1,459 comps for a gate of $9.9 million...So how did “May Day” perform on pay-per-view?: http://www.maxboxing.com/news/promo-lead/the-million-mark-for-mayweather...Look for Orlando Salido to return now in August in Mexico and participate in a WBO eliminator at 130 pounds...So will Mother’s Day be a bit awkward for Kobe Bryant?...The Bulls and Heat should be put into a boxing ring...I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.


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