Sharkie's Machine: Joseph Agbeko Shines in Win over Vic Darchinyan
By Frank Gonzalez Jr. exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (July 12, 2009) Photo © Tom Casino /SHOWTIME  
During some of the pre fight hype leading up to the fight, Darchinyan was asked, “Is it important for you to hate your opponents?” After wrangling with the question for a few seconds Vic said with a sly, menacing look, “Of course I hate my opponent.”

That’s classic. You got to love that kind of honesty and or sense of humor. There was some typical banter during their press conference where Agbeko annoyed Darchinyan by putting his fist near Darchinyan’s
jaw for the cameras. Vic pushed his hand away a couple of times and was ultimately cool about it. The look on his face betrayed his thoughts of how he’d use annoyance in his efforts to “demolish” Agbeko when they got into the ring.

There are days when things just don’t go your way, but there you are, and it’s too late to second guess. Super Fly King Vic “The Raging Bull” Darchinyan (32-2, 1- 26 KO’s) had to feel that way Saturday night in Sunrise Florida after tangling with IBF Bantamweight titlist Joseph Agbeko (27-1, 22 KO’s) at the Bank Atlantic Center, where Vic’s efforts to win a major title strap at the next weight class (Bantam weight), came up short.

Agbeko fought Darchinyan with a relaxed composure, even under fire, which was often. Agbeko used lots of head movement and his right hand to break down the guard of Vic Darchinyan. Darchinyan changed gears a few times but wasn’t able to sustain any notable consistency on offense. Agbeko was fluid with his right hand, which caused cuts over Vic’s eyes and nose. There were also a few head butts that come naturally for Agbeko, who moves his head often, and a lot of rough house tactics employed by Darchinyan, who pushed Agbeko to the canvas about four times during the fight, the first time, referee Tommy Kimmons ruled as a knockdown.

That was a case where Instant Replay would have served justice after the round. Agbeko was winning that round and after being pushed and ruled knocked down, it was in essence an unjustified point loss for Agbeko in a round he should have won. During the fight, Darchinyan pushed Agbeko several times but Kimmons never took a point from him, which led Don King (Agbeko’s promoter in this fight) to accuse Kimmons of being biased after the fight was over.

Joseph Agbeko had the better boxing skills Saturday night and has now put a string of six wins in a row and has now successfully defended his IBF title three times.

Agbeko didn’t let any of the peripherals interfere. He was there to out box Darchinyan and he did so with agility and consistency. This was definitely a tough fight for both guys but it was Agbeko who fought more effectively. I thought Agbeko won by a larger margin than reflected by the official score cards. To the official Judges’ credit, the right man won the Decision.

What was most interesting about this fight was how Darchinyan’s emotions dictate his reaction to adversity. After being out boxed by Donaire, Vic brashly went head hunting and paid dearly. In some ways, he did the same thing against Agbeko. Vic is a far better technical boxer than he shows at times. When he thinks he can muscle his way through a contest, instead of going by the book, he gets caught up in what has now worked against him twice. The best we’ve seen from Vic is when he’s boxing smart and pouncing on opponents when the moments present themselves and he throws punches from all angles. But this undisciplined side is also what makes Darchinyan exciting to watch, whether you’re rooting for or against him.

This loss is unfortunate for Darchinyan but apparently there’s a continuing lesson there for him. He has what it takes and even the toughest fighters can have a bad day. The lesson here is to learn better mental discipline, as in when to be patient and when to explode. Play chess with that tandem to keep your opponent off guard. Be a brute force—with a smart strategy. Vic will be wise to get smarter instead of madder when the heat is on. He has the talent. During the post fight interview, Vic acknowledged that his strategy was wrong. He also said he should’ve been more careful about the head butts Agbeko causes.

This was an impressive performance for Joseph Agbeko, who showed the kind of ring generalship and “cool” that is key to beating a powerful opponent that likes to slug it out. Agbeko was calm but relentless, constantly jabbing, moving his head and changing directions in short spots, while delivering the leather on time. His was an efficient performance.

After beating a big attraction fighter like Vic Darchinyan, Agbeko has a brighter light shinning on him. It should be noted that Agbeko only recently started fighting respectable opponents. He could be on the fast track now. Guys I’d like to see him fight include Fernando Montiel, Anselmo Moreno, who beat Wladimir Sidorenko twice. Sidorenko beat Agbeko back in 2004. Maybe a rematch with Sidorenko. Whoever he fights, Agbeko’s style is bound to give anyone trouble.

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