By Derek Bonnett: One of the most significant match-ups in boxing is the crossroads bout. At some point in a young fighter’s career, he is asked to take a step up in opposition and meet a veteran fighter with greater experience and credentials the prospect presently aspires to. A twenty-year old Roberto Duran found himself in this position in 1971 as he took on former world titlist Hiroshi Kobayashi, whom lost his super featherweight title in his previous bout. Duran brutalized the former champion in seven rounds and moved on to a world championship bout within a year’s time. Kobayashi never fought again. Thus, the script went as planned. However, not every fighter in the sport of boxing understands his role and sometimes things go awry for the fighter of tomorrow. Jorge Arce is one such fighter, who just couldn’t learn his lines and fill the role of the steppingstone in his crossroads bout with Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. back in 2011. Instead of staying on the canvas in round four, the Mexican entertainer got up to brutalize the younger man and drown him in the deep waters of the championship rounds.
This week, Arce’s former nemesis, Vic Darchinyan found himself in very similar circumstances as Kobayashi and Arce. He found himself across the ring from a promising young prospect in Luis Orlando Del Valle whilst amid a two fight slide. Darchinyan’s days at the top appeared to be in the rearview mirror while Del Valle’s day seemed at hand. All Vic had to do was allow youth to overmatch experience and the script would have been acted out as planned. Unfortunately for Del Valle, 25, Darchinyan never read it. Instead, he provided boxing fans with yet another top performance as he bullied the younger fighter around the ring and beat him to the punch all night. The Raging Bull even had to prove his whiskers yet again as he was forced to keep his footing after being rocked late in the ninth round. Darchinyan barely lost a round in an impressive showing that once again reminded us that middle age is not a death sentence in the lighter weight classes any longer. Now, at 122 pounds, Darchinyan, 36, finds himself in a position to remain relevant in the sport just a little bit longer. Seniors Tour bouts with Rafael Marquez or a rematch with Arce loom as interesting possibilities, but the youth of the division still wants a piece of Vic’s scalp.
"I would fight Vic right now," said former titlist Rico Ramos. "He just took the fight to Del Valle. Vic was just throwing one punch and Valle wasn’t throwing first. He shouldn’t have let Vic throw first. Much respect to Del Valle, he stuck in there; that’s my bro. I’m looking for anybody from 122-126. Anybody!"
The twenty-five year old Ramos had a brief reign as the WBA 122-pound champion in 2011, but lost that belt to Guillermo Rigondeaux. He’s since won a close bout with Efrain Esquivas this past June. Ramos is at a crossroads in his own career. Who better to help him sort things out than Vic Darchinyan.
On Friday, September 28, at Kad Choengdoi, Chiang Mai, Thailand, Wanheng Menayothin scored and eighth round TKO of Jerson Luzarito. The contest was waved off at the 1:40 mark. Menayothin improved his dossier to 24-0 (8). Luzarito fell to 6-2-3 (2).
Menayothin preserved his number eight ranking among SecondsOut’s premiere strawweights.
Also in action on the card, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam kept busy with a first round TKO over Charlie Cabilla. The end came at the 1:26 mark. Wonjongkam raised his record to 87-4-2 (46) as he nears the elite status of 100 victories. This was Wonjongkam’s fifth contest of 2012 and fans can probably expect to him back in action before the new year. Cabilla dropped to 12-12-4 (2).
Wonjongkam remained SecondsOut’s number seven ranked flyweight.
On Saturday, September 29, at Sporthalle, Alsterdorf, Hamburg, Germany, Kubrat Pulev dominated Alexander Ustinov for an eleventh round stoppage in a heavyweight bout. Ustinov went down in the eleventh and seemingly allowed himself to be counted out. The end came at the 1:28 mark. Pulev enhanced his ring credentials to 17-0 (9). Ustinov dipped to 27-1 (21).
Pulev maintained his number seven ranking among SecondsOut’s top heavyweights.
In the main event, Alexander Povetkin dispatched Hasim Rahman in two rounds of WBA heavyweight title bout. The end came at the 1:46 mark. Povetkin made the third defense of his title and raised his record to 25-0 (17). Rahman fell to 50-8-2 (41).
Povetkin kept his number six ranking at SecondsOut, but will need to step up his opposition if he is to stay ranked ahead of the young Turks in the heavyweight division.
At Auditorio del Bicentenario, Morelia, Michoacan de Ocampo, Mexico, Denver Cuello defeated Ivan Meneses in a ten round light flyweight bout. Cuello won a unanimous decision after dropping Meneses in the first round. Cuello won for the third time this year and improved his ledger to 32-4-6 (21). Meneses fell to 18-11-1 (10).
Cuello held his number two ranking among SecondsOut’s top strawweights.
Also on this evening, at MGM Grand at Foxwoods Resort, Mashantucket, Connecticut, USA, Edwin Rodriguez pummeled the woefully overmatched Jason Escalera in a super middleweight bout. The end came at :12 of the eighth round. Rodriguez remained unbeaten at 22-0 (15). Escalera fell to 13-1-1 (12).
Rodriguez held is number nine ranking among SecondsOut’s elite 168-pounders.
Also on the card, Luis Orlando Del Valle absorbed a brutal lesson from Vic Darchinyan in a ten round super bantamweight bout. Darchinyan upset the highly touted prospect by two scores of 99-91 and 96-94. Darchinyan improved his dossier to 38-5-1 (27). Del Valle dipped to 16-1 (11).