By Marc Livitz: Nonito Donaire and Vic Darchinyan have taken separate paths over the last few years that have ultimately led them to the same destination. Six years have gone by since “The Filipino Flash” Donaire delivered a crushing counter left hook which tagged “The Raging Bull” Darchinyan squarely across the face and gave the boxing world a knockout to remember. The California fighter (by way of the Philippines) was thereafter catapulted into the pugilistic spotlight. He had moved down to the flyweight division for the chance to capture the IBF title and he did so in such resounding fashion that he stuck around for a bit. Not only did he defend the crown three times before he moved back up to super flyweight, but he also went on to win a world titles at bantamweight and super bantamweight. His resume includes wins over Hernan Marquez, Fernando Montiel, Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr., Toshiaki Nishioka and Jorge Arce. Up through December of last year, Donaire (31-2, 20 KO’s) was among the upper ranks of many “pound for pound” lists. Then along came an evening last spring at New York City’s famed Radio City Music Hall. Nonito was befuddled and a bit out of sorts, it seemed when he faced former amateur legend Guillermo Rigondeaux and consequently, he was handed his first loss in over twelve years.
Vic Darchinyan (39-5-1, 28 KO’s) was back in the ring three months after his knockout loss to Donaire and since then, he has compiled an impressive record of his own. His summer 2008 knockout victory over Dmitry Kirillov put a super flyweight title in his possession and thereafter, he pulled off an impressive double over popular Mexican fighters, Cristian Mijares and Jorge Arce. In the mix, he did lose to some top names such as Joseph Agbeko, Abner Mares and Anselmo Moreno. Nevertheless, he has always been eager to gain the chance for a rematch with Nonito Donaire. Just like “The Filipino Flash”, he’s fought once in 2013 and the 37 year old native of Armenia will get just the opportunity for which he’s yearned this coming Saturday evening in Corpus Christi, Texas. The long awaited rematch will find itself somewhat sandwiched within an evening of great bouts scheduled to take place at the American Bank Center in the coastal Texas city.
The tripleheader card will be televised in the United States on HBO’s Boxing After Dark (9:30 PM ET/PT) and on either side of the Donaire/Darchinyan grudge rematch will be a WBO light middleweight title contest between undefeated fighters Vanes Martirosyan (33-0-1, 21 KO’s) and Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade (19-0, 13 KO’s), as well as the evening’s main event. That particular contest will feature Mikey Garcia (32-0, 27 KO’s) and Roman “Rocky” Martinez (27-1-2, 16 KO’s) in a scheduled twelve round bout for the WBO super featherweight belt. Stay connected to SecondsOut.com for tomorrow’s report on the Garcia vs. Martinez media call, as well as live reports from Corpus Christi later in the week.
Conference Call Highlights Listed Below.
Bob Arum, CEO of Top Rank Promotions: “This should be a great fight. It’s just one of three special fights that HBO will be bringing to the public. It’s a tribute to HBO. They’ve had a run of great fights and that will continue this Saturday. One great fight after another and we have another one this Saturday. I know Nonito and Vic will be performing at the highest level.”
Opening Statements, Vic Darchinyan: “I’ve been waiting for this fight for a long time. I’ve trained very hard for this fight and I’m well prepared. I want to show it all in the ring. It’s not just power, but speed. It doesn’t matter how old I am. I know there’s not too many fighters at my age, but still there’s (Sergio) Martinez, (Juan Manuel) Marquez and (Bernard) Hopkins. I’m sure Nonito is prepared, too and that I’ll see the best of him.”
Opening Statements, Nonito Donaire: “I’m very prepared and I know that Vic is a dangerous opponent. Like he said, age doesn’t matter when you have power. Everyone’s been very supportive. We’re going to bring it all for the fans on Saturday.”
Donaire on the 2007 fight: “To me, I don’t look back to our last fight. I’m just looking forward and we’ve both grown so much. In terms of style and power, so much has changed. I can’t look too much at our 2007 fight. It’s still a good reference to how his style will be. Everyone has habits and habits die hard.”
Darchinyan on the same: “He caught me in 2007 and I’d never been hit like that. If I had ever been able to recover better in that fight from that knockdown, then maybe it would have been different. I have the experience and power now. “
Nonito on reuniting with his father and his desire to return to the ring: “I’m getting back to the old me and the smarter me. We’re not going in there to just brawl. He’s mostly helping with the mitts and he’s working well with everyone. Things happen for a reason in life. When I became a father, I realized that my dad had always been there for me. The motivation has definitely come back. The Darchinyan fight had always been hanging there and a lot of people wanted a rematch.”
“I realized that this is where I want to be. After the (Jorge) Arce fight, I was pretty much done, but after the loss, I wanted to keep going.”
Vic on finally getting a rematch and if he’s being overlooked: “Yes, I think he’s doing that. In his loss, (to Rigondeaux) he was exposed. He had such a good year before that, but inside of me, I know why he wanted this. I will stop him this time. It’s not about him. It’s about me. I’ve prepared mentally and I know what he plans to do. I’m ready to demolish him. I’ll prove to the world that I’m the better fighter.”
“I’ll look to expose him, too and show that he can be beaten. He won’t have an excuse for this fight. I wanted to unify my titles after I lost to Nonito. I’m happy to be fighting him again. We’ll show it all in the ring and I’m very motivated. I can’t wait anymore.”
Donaire’s thoughts about the rematch: “I don’t care who it is. I’ll fight whoever is in front of me. I just have to adjust to whatever is needed. It could be anybody and not just Vic. We’re just trying to bring that youth mentality back and so I’m ready. I know he’s worked hard and put the dedication to it. I don’t need to talk about it. I knew one way or another that this would happen and I’ll do my talking in the ring.”
“Raging Bull” Darchinyan on his 2007 knockout loss to Donaire: “Before that fight, I had six defenses of my IBF title. Many of them were knockouts. I was always using my power and not my skill. Everyone knows that I’m a slow starter. In my mind, I was trying to figure him out. I didn’t see the left hook coming and then I was on the floor. I jumped up straight away and I wanted to keep going. I’ll just be smarter this time. I’m a different fighter now and I have more patience. The idea is to fight like a champion and get him to fight my game. Rigo (Rigondeaux) showed his skill and exposed Nonito. Love me or hate me, my style is my style. I’ll show it all in the ring.”
“Filipino Flash Donaire on his shoulder injury: “I had two tears in my right shoulder and I had surgery two weeks after the Rigondeaux fight. I had some problems with my left shoulder, but that one is fine now. We’re confident with both hands and we can pull the trigger as well. I just had to recall how I made myself into a world champion. “
Bob Arum on Saturday’s card and the future: “We believe that there’s huge talent in the featherweight division. On this card, we’ll have a WBA featherweight world championship fight between Nicholas Walters of Jamaica and Alberto Garza from Mexico. The winner from that fight will go into the mix. We can look forward to some great featherweight matches next year.”
Nonito on fighting as a featherweight and his famous 2007 punch: “It was set up perfectly and we landed it. I feel good at this weight class. I’m actually training for the fight and not to lose weight. We’re looking for the same outcome and we’re working hard for it. Whatever style he brings will be the one we work with. That fight put my name on the map, so to speak. It jumpstarted my career and before that, I wasn’t even known in the Philippines. “
Frank Espinoza, trainer of Vic Darchinyan: “He knows that this is his last shot at redemption. He brings a lot of experience and aggression. He’ll be a true warrior in the ring and give it his all on Saturday night. I haven’t seen him so motivated in quite a long time.”
Robert Garcia, trainer of Nonito Donaire: “We had an awesome training camp in Oxnard (California). His dad is the one who made him and I was glad to have him with us.”
Closing Statements, Vic Darchinyan: “Everyone knows how much I want this fight. I’ve been waiting for six years and I’m looking forward to fighting many more after this.”
Closing Statements, Nonito Donaire: “I’m very excited for this one and it’s going to be a hell of a fight. We’ll have our hands popping in the fight and that’s the way it has to be.”
November 5, 2103