|A Tale of Two Fighters: Cristian Mijares vs Vic Darchinyan
By Anthony Cocks, DoghouseBoxing.com (Oct 30, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Tom Casino/SHOWTIME)
It’s a well worn boxing cliché that styles make fights, but outside of the ring Cristian Mijares and Vic Darchinyan couldn’t be more diametrically opposed.
Mijares, the 27-year-old WBC and WBA super flyweight champion hailing from Gomez Palacio, Durango in Mexico, is quietly confident of retaining his titles and adding Darchinyan’s IBF hardware to his trophy case when the two meet at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California this Saturday night.
"My preparation in Gomez Palacio was top-notch, perfect,'' Mijares said this week. "I have done all the hard work in camp and I can't wait to shut Darchinyan up. I've been hearing that he thinks I'm overrated. Not only is he mistaken but he will be overly surprised with what I will do with him at the Home Depot Center."
Darchinyan meanwhile has continued to exude his natural blend confidence and cockiness in the week leading up to the fight.
"He is a very good fighter, but when he feels my punches he will feel different. He's fought some tough guys, but no one like me,” said Darchinyan. "I know when I'm talking that I will deliver. I'm going to be too much for him. He's overrated.”
It is this brashness of 32-year-old Armenian-born Australian that has both endeared fans to him and alienated other from him. Darchinyan’s critics point to his aggressive, stalking style and claim he is a one-dimensional knockout artist who never enters the ring with a plan B. Fans of the diminutive power puncher point to his heavy hands and take-no-prisoners approach as the definition of an entertaining prize fighter.
Despite his boasts, it’s fair to say that Darchinyan has faced no-one like Mijares either. The slick-boxing Mexican southpaw announced himself to the boxing world in April 2007 when he comprehensively outboxed aggressive and popular veteran Jorge Arce for the WBC super featherweight title. Since that signature win Mijares has been on an impressive run, defending his world title five times and picking up Alexander Munoz’s WBA strap along the way.
“I didn’t have to take this fight but I’m so glad I did,” said Darchinyan of the challenge that awaits him this weekend. “I will knock him out, there’s no question about it. I will come not just to win. I will knock him out.”
Darchinyan’s fall from grace last year was as swift as it was brutal. In a surprisingly close fight at the Harbour Yard Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut on July 7, unheralded Filipino Nonito Donaire scored the biggest win of his career with a one-punch 5th round TKO of Darchinyan that left the fans in attendance stunned. A razor-sharp left hook from the rangy technician caught the forward-charging Darchinyan right on the point of the chin, snapping his head around and laying out the formerly undefeated titleholder flat on his back. As he struggled to rise before referee Eddie Claudio reached the count of ten, Darchinyan pitched face-first into canvas in a valiant attempt to get to his feet. Through sheer will alone Darchinyan was able to momentarily regain his footing, but his scrambled neurological senses sent him staggering drunkenly into the ropes, forcing Claudio to halt the bout at 1:38.
The unexpected result earned Donaire both The Ring magazine’s Knockout of the Year and Upset of the Year awards.
The manner in which Darchinyan dealt with the loss immediately after the bout served to further alienate fans already critical of his enduring sense of self-belief.
“I feel good. I don’t know what to say. I would like to fight again. I don’t feel I was hurt. Maybe knocked down, but I don’t feel I was hurt,” Darchinyan told Showtime’s disbelieving Jim Gray in the ring after the fight.
Since the loss Darchinyan moved up in weight to 115 pounds and rebounded with a 12th round TKO of journeyman Federico Catubay in October of last year, followed by a controversial twelve round draw in an IBF eliminator against Z Gorres in the Filipino’s backyard in February. Despite the unsatisfactory result, the IBF sanctioned a shot at their reigning champion Dimitri Kirilov.
In a frighteningly one-sided bout Darchinyan put a beating on the defending titleholder, seemingly hurting Kirilov with every punch he landed before dropping the Russian twice and stopping him at 1:05 of the 5th.
But Mijares presents an entirely different set of problems.
“Darchinyan is talking too much because he’s scared of me. Jorge Arce talked a lot of trash too and I shut him up. I’ll do the same with Darchinyan,” said Mijares in the lead up to the fight.“Everyone knows I’m the smarter fighter. I learn new things all the time. From what I’ve seen, Darchinyan doesn’t grow from fight to fight. What you see is what you get. He’s predictable.“Some people are saying that this fight could turn into an epic series like the Vazquez-Marquez trilogy. Those fights were extremely close. I don’t see my fight with Darchinyan being close. I expect to win by a comfortable margin.”
For his part Darchinyan is unfazed by fighting a fellow southpaw who has the footwork and handspeed to cause him all sorts of difficulties."I've fought southpaws before. It's no different for me,” said Darchinyan. "I'm going to do some boxing. You're going to see how fast and smart I am on Saturday. I'm going to put on a show for my Armenian fans at The Home Depot Center. I'm very confident and ready for this fight. I'm ready to fight anyone.
"I think I am the best fighter he has ever, and will ever, fight. His style is an amateur style. I will deliver. I want to become the undisputed world champion after this fight.
"On Saturday, you're going to see a different Vic Darchinyan. I won't try to take him out with just one punch. You're going to see a much smarter Vic on Saturday night.
"Mijares is a very good fighter, but that's OK when you fight someone that doesn't have the power that I have. He's fought guys that don't have my power.
"The only fight I wanted was Mijares. I want to fight who everyone thinks is the best so I can prove that I'm the best."
Regardless of the end result, you have got to admire both boxers for their willingness to fight the best win, lose or draw.
AFTER THE BELL
Fight fans in Melbourne, Australia can now watch all international and domestic pay-per-view fights live at the refurbished Sports Bar at the Bush Inn Hotel on the corner of Malvern and Williams Roads in Toorak, starting with this Sunday’s Cristian Mijares vs Vic Darchinyan main event. The telecast will kick off at 12 midday with a super middleweight showdown between slick American southpaw Andre Dirrell, 16-0 (11), and hard-hitting Australian-based Russian Victor Oganov, 28-1 (28). With a drop-down screen, full TAB facilities, pool tables, bistro meals and of course cold beer, there are worse places to spend a lazy Sunday arvo after ditching church.
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