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20 NOVEMBER 2018

Where am I? Home Columns Paul Upham

Darchinyan Stops Arce by TKO in Brutal 11 Round War

Darchinyan hammers Arce: Tom Casino/Showtime
Darchinyan hammers Arce: Tom Casino/Showtime

By Paul Upham: It was a war as advertised, WBC/WBA/IBF super flyweight boxing world champion Vic Darchinyan defending his titles with an 11th round TKO win over Jorge Arce on Saturday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, televised in the USA in Showtime Championship Boxing.

Two of the biggest pre-fight talkers in the sport, the 115lbs boxers had both promised that their opponent would be beaten up very badly. While Darchinyan emerged victorious on the night, in some ways they were both right.

“He landed some punches too, you can see my face,” admitted Darchinyan, “but I am feeling great.”

Arce’s best weapon was his left hook, which wobbled Darchinyan 32-1-1 (26) early in round 4. The Armenian born Australian citizen downplaying its effects.

“He gave me a couple of good punches, but he did not hurt me,” he claimed. “We come together and head butt a couple of times. The cuts you can see on me are from head butts. Yeah, he landed a couple of good punches. He was punching me with his left hook, but it was not bothering me.”

Both boxers had stanzas of success, though in the end, the heart, guts and chin of Arce could not overcome the cleaner punching of Darchinyan.

While they exchanged left hands in the opening seconds of round 1, there was obvious respect between the two knockout punchers. While he walked to the ring with his trademark lollypop, Arce looked more concerned than usual, suggesting that he knew he was going to be in a desperate battle. Arce walked forward with his compact defence of hands held high. He was rocked by a straight left as he received an early taste of the champion’s power. As he walked back to his corner at the end of the round, there was a trickle of blood from his left eye. “You can’t catch him with one punch.” Arce’s corner told him. “He is a bad man,” the boxer replied.

33 year-old Darchinyan was fighting at pace in round 2 and throwing his full arsenal of punches. Arce was trying to hold on inside. Darchinyan landed some clean punches to end the round, which only prompted Arce to fire back.

Before the beginning of round 3, Darchinyan was so intent on getting a head start before the bell, that referee Lou Moret told him to move back into his corner. Darchinyan hit Arce with a left hand and the challenger punched back hard. This led to a wild exchange at the end of the round. Blood flowed from a cut on Darchinyan’s right eyebrow close to his nose.

While Darchinyan appeared to be in control over the first three rounds, the flow changed in round 4 when Darchinyan was rocked by a left hook. While he did not appear to be in danger of going down on the canvas, Darchinyan’s legs buckled slightly and he backed off and attempted to box going in reverse. The champion then surged again and Arce was rocked by a vicious left uppercut as he came forward. Arce ended the round with his back on the ropes as Darchinyan tried to knock him out. It was a thrilling rollercoaster round which had the large crowd screaming.

Having experience Arce’s strongest punch, Darchinyan came out in round 5 with a tighter defence. He then landed another uppercut as Arce bulldozed forward. Despite being hurt, a gutsy Arce kept coming forward when so many other boxers have been taken out by Darchinyan’s lethal power. Finally he relented and retreated to the ropes and Darchinyan caught him flush, going straight back at the bell.

The two boxers exchanged hooks to begin round 6. Arce was spun around and got caught between the ropes. Neither fighter was backing off. The match was creating spectator tension as dominance swung from side to side. The obvious difference was Darchinyan’s superior hand speed, which was allowing him to keep catching Arce when he least expected it.

There was a slower pace to begin round 7 as the punishment delivered by both men began to take its toll. Arce was punching to the body whenever the opportunity arose, as he planned to attack a weakened Darchinyan later in the fight. After a controlled pace, Darchinyan opened up in the final thirty seconds of the round.

Darchinyan used his uppercut: Tom Casino/Showtime
Darchinyan used his uppercut: Tom Casino/Showtime
Darchinyan was moving on his toes early in round 8 and using his hand speed to land his punches. Both men had swollen faces and the heart and chin on display from Arce in the heat of Darchinyan’s punching was commendable.

More and more, Arce was getting beaten to the punch and was caught up on the ropes at the beginning of round 9. Darchinyan was pacing himself and using high percentage punches to land. As he fought back, Arce landed a right hand flush on the jaw of Darchinyan, which had the crowd roaring. Arce then claimed to be hit on the back of the head, which Darchinyan openly denied, leading to a wild passionate exchange. Despite being hit, Arce was calling Darchinyan on. Referee Moret warning both men for infractions on the inside. Darchinyan was repeatedly spinning to his left and clipping a rushing Arce with a left hand.

Both men were tying up on the inside in round 10. A straight left from Darchinyan broke them free. There was more wrestling as Arce tried to tie Darchinyan up. Arce was working to the body, but it seemed to have little effect. Arce was bleeding from a cut on his right cheek. Darchinyan was fast on his feet and picking the Mexican off.

Darchinyan was taking his time in round 11. He landed an uppercut and a frustrated Arce looked to be trying to survive. Darchinyan began to showboat, holding his arms out wide and inviting Arce to attack, a sign that he now felt confident that the fight had been taken from the challenger. After another exchange, Arce claimed he was cut from a head clash, but referee Moret would not hear of it and told him the cut was from a punch. Darchinyan was stalking Arce now and landed a hard shot. There was more blood on Arce’s face, who for the first time, appeared to be on the verge of being stopped. Arce was waving Darchinyan on, but all he had left was an iron will, which could not be matched by his tender facial tissue.

While he told officials that he wanted to continue when he went back to his corner at the end of round 11, the referee waved off the contest after receiving advice from the ringside doctor.

All three judges had Darchinyan ahead 109-100 at the stoppage.

Arce and his team were displeased, claiming that the cuts he received came from Darchinyan head butts and elbows.

“I was fine,” he said. “I got hit with his elbows and then the head. I got cut on top of the head. For a couple of minutes, I didn’t know where I was with that elbow he gave me.

“I thought I was doing really well on the body. We were going at it and I thought I was doing well when I went to the body, so I don’t really know why they stopped it. I felt fine and I thought I still had a punchers chance.”

Television replays appeared to suggest that the last cut on Arce’s right eye was actually caused by the ring rope as he went through them off balance, just before the end of the round.

“I was cut on my head and my face, but I was ready to fight,” declared Arce. “I wanted to continue. I was landing some good shots in there.”

Darchinyan told the media that Arce was lucky that the fight was stopped when it was.

“I was catching him with my uppercut,” he said. “I did train for this fight and I wanted to punish him and knock him out. I think he is lucky they stopped it on a cut. If it went one more round, you saw what happened to him in round 11. In round 12 you are going to see more punches. I wanted to knock him out, cold, KO. No technical knockout. But still, it is OK, I am happy.”

Asked who he wanted to fight next, Darchinyan replied, “My promoter Gary Shaw is here, anyone he puts in front of me I will love to fight them.”

“He could fight the WBO champion at 115lbs, nobody has ever worn four belts,” explained Shaw. “We can go to 118 and fight (Fernando) Montiel. We can go to 122 and maybe fight (Israel) Vazquez or (Rafael) Marquez.”

Arce called for an unlikely rematch.

“After being in the ring with him for a few rounds,” he said, “I think a better strategy would bring better results for me. I think I would like to meet him again. He is a great fighter. He is very strong. But I think I have a chance.”

All photos: Tom Casino/Showtime
Darchinyan has more than just a left hand: Tom Casino/Showtime
Darchinyan has more than just a left hand: Tom Casino/Showtime
Darchinyan retained his three world titles:
Darchinyan retained his three world titles:
In the main support, Antonio DeMarco 20-1-1 (14) won a bruising lightweight battle against Almazbek “Kid Diamond” Raiymkulov 27-2-1 (15). At the end of round 9, Kid Diamond was lucky to survive, only the bell saving him from being knocked down or stopped as he received a DeMarco barrage up against the ropes.

There was some confusion after the bell as the doctor checked on Raiymkulov’s health. Just as round 10 was set to begin, “Kid Diamond” and his team indicted to the corner official that he did not want to continue and the official informed the referee who waved off the contest. 23 year-old DeMarco won the NABO lightweight belt.

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