Nonito Donaire and Vic Darchinyan met in a rematch 6 years in the making this past Saturday night at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA. The second fight, much like the first ended with Nonito Donaire coming away with a thrilling stoppage win, but besides the ending of the bout, the two fights could not have been more different.
Donaire, who was a heavy favorite to win the bout, was consistently getting beaten to the punch, being outboxed and was losing the fight on two of the official judges scorecards. The first round of the bout started with the now 37 year old Darchinyan coming out much differently than we have seen in previous fights, as he was carefully choosing his shots and seemed cautious of Donaire’s left hand that had halted him in the first bout.
After a close first round, the second saw much of the same ring action, as both fighters were not engaging, until half way through the round Donaire landed a solid right hand that wobbled Darchinyan, and caused him to fire back and excite the crowd. The third saw Darchinyan regain his composure and start to land clean, well timed punches on Donaire and this would be the start of what would be a repeating theme through the night.
Donaire looked sluggish, and seemed unable to pull the trigger, and aside from the second round, he appeared to lose the majority of rounds leading up the the ninth. Darchinyan’s improvement in both defense and boxing ability had him leading 78-74 on two of the scorecards going into the ninth round, and it seemed that Darchinyan was on his way to a huge upset victory.
Before the start of the ninth, the urgency in the corner of Donaire was clear, as Robert Garcia pleaded with his fighter to throw more punches and seemed concerned that time was starting to run out. At the beginning of the ninth round Donaire started faster and was getting off a bit more, boxing on his toes and looking to land a big shot.
The shot would come before the half way mark of the round and it stunned Darchinyan and got him defensively firing back and that ultimately set up the left hand counter that floored the “Raging Bull” and had him getting up from the shot on shaky legs. After the knock down, it seemed only a matter of time, and while Darchinyan tried to move and hold, he found himself caught in the corner under heavy fire. After two constitutive left uppercuts, the referee wisely decided to stop the fight and Nonito Donaire escaped with the TKO 9 victory.
With the stoppage win Donaire keeps his name among the top fighters in the world, but this fight here showed that his climb back to the position he was in before the Guillermo Rigondeaux loss will be a long road, as it appears that the blueprint on how to beat Donaire has already been written, and if a fighter like Vic Darchinyan who has never been known for his boxing skills can follow it and nearly succeed with it, then other more talented boxers in and around the division can too.
Some will say that Nonito Donaire lacks the motivation to be at the top, or will claim that his performance is a sign of decline, but the reality of the fight was that Vic Darchinyan fought well and was more controlled than he had ever been in his career and deserves credit for his performance. While he came up short in his effort, he showed that with the right game plan, and a certain amount of discipline, that Nonito Donaire is quite beatable by a number of opponents out there, and it’s just a matter of time before another fighter follows the blueprint to defeat him once again.