A must-see matchup that fans, media and the fighters themselves have been clamoring for will take place when two of boxing’s biggest little men and hardest punchers, Vic Darchinyan and Jorge Arce, clash at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., on Saturday, Feb. 7, live on (SHOWTIME, 9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast). Darchinyan’s 115-pound IBF, WBC and WBA world titles will be on the line.
Darchinyan (31-1-1, 25 KOs), of Sydney, Australia, by way of Armenia, will be making his first defense since unifying the 115-pound division with a devastating ninth-round knockout over Mexico’s Cristian Mijares Nov. 1, 2008, on SHOWTIME. Darchinyan, who entered the ring as the IBF champion, walked out with Mijares’ WBC and WBA belts.
The popular, crowd-pleasing Arce (51-4-1, 39 KOs), of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, is the current WBA interim super flyweight champion and is a former WBC 115-pound and World Boxing Organization (WBO) 108-pound titleholder.
In the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING co-feature, No. 5 ranked WBC lightweight contender Antonio DeMarco (19-1-1, 13 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico, will take on “Kid Diamond” Almazbek Raiymkulov (27-1-1, 15 KOs) in a 12-round lightweight bout for the North American Boxing Organization (NABO) title.
The main event fighters and their promoters spoke on a national media conference call Wednesday. The following are highlights from the call:
Comments from Darchinyan’s promoter, Gary Shaw:
“Besides Vic talking a good game, he backs up a good game. I thank SHOWTIME for coming down and televising fights at these weight classes.
“Ken Hershman deserves credit for believing in Vic and showing his great fights. It will pay off like Vazquez-Marquez has paid off. They (SHOWTIME) come down to these weights that others may not want to broadcast but these are the real fights, not the heavyweight garbage out there today.
“I want to make this perfectly clear this has nothing to do with the Mexican people. Vic does not hate Mexicans nor does anybody in Vic’s camp nor does anybody in GSP. The Mexicans I represent will tell you there is sheer love there.
“Vic just happens to be the Mexican Assassin and knocks them off in the ring. We don’t talk about Mexicans when we are having dinner or having fun.
“Arce happens to be special because Vic chased him around the world in order to fight him and every time we made the fight they ran away. Arce continues to run. He’s got a big mouth on the phone but he didn’t show up to the press conference.
“Vic Darchinyan is not getting the credit he should be in the pound-for-pound list(s) but he should be at the top. He’s knocked out almost all of his opponents and he deserves that.
“Vic is still young in his career and maybe we’ll move up. The book on Vic Darchinyan is still open and we’re not even halfway through it yet.”
Darchinyan (on his style and upcoming title defense):
“It’s (knockouts) my style. I want people to see excitement. I believe I can knock out anyone and Saturday night you will see a big knockout. No one can stay with me 12 rounds. If I catch him, it’s over.
“I’m going to be 100 percent ready. You’re going to see big punches from me, fast and strong. He’s dumb. I’m going to make him look dumb and stupid.
“From the first round, I don’t care. I am going to slow him down and punish him every round. I’m going to play him like a cat and mouse and show how dumb he is. He is going to be covering himself after the first 20 seconds.
“He’s just going for a big punch. He’s not a big puncher. I’m going to punish him. I want to thank his management because they don’t want him anymore. They just want to write him off after this loss.
“All my opponents are Mexicans. They are very popular and very strong. It doesn’t matter (whether my opponents are) Mexican or Filipino. I am going to knock out and punish whoever it is. Don’t put nationalities in there. They are fighters.
“I don’t underestimate my opponent. But with any opponent I tell you what I will do with them. I believe any opponent who I fight I will dominate and destroy. I believe I will knock him out, but I won’t knock him out in one round. That would be too easy for him. I am going to demolish him, destroy him and knock him out. He is going to remember me all his life.
“His age does not matter. Age is not a big deal. It matters how you concentrate to fight and how you are mentally ready, how you prepare yourself.”
Darchinyan (speaks of the 115-pound weight class):
“I think it’s a great division. The style makes for excitement. I want people to mention my name against the greatest. I tell people what I am going to do and I do it.”
Darchinyan (on respect):
“I don’t have respect for any opponents. I am getting ready for this fight. I am going to be 100 percent on Feb. 7. Even against Mijares, I had some mistakes. In this fight I will be sharper. Even more then I was for Mijares. I am going to be sharp and very strong and you will see how strong I can be and how fast I am and how good I can fight.”
Darchinyan response to Arce’s claim that the challenger cannot be intimidated:
“I don’t care. I’m going to knock him out.”
Darchinyan (on moving up in weight):
“I want to move up and fight Manny Pacquiao. (But) I will take my time, one by one. I’m not going to rush. I’ll do it when I’m ready to go and that will be a good fight.”
Darchinyan (on whether this will be an easy fight):
“I know he is a good fighter, but any opponent that I fight I tell him what I am going to do with him. Even with Mijares, I told him (that I was going to) break him down and smash him and I did. I tell every opponent. I am going to knock out all my opponents one by one.’
“Every punch I am going to let (Arce) see colors, see stars. I know he is going to come up and I’m going to show all the world that I am the greatest. I am the guy who is always saying in the press conferences what I will do, and I follow through on it.
“Arce is a good puncher; he’s had good knockouts. But I am going to play him like baby. I want everyone to see that Darchinyan says what he will do. Everyone keeps bringing up (Nonito) Donaire, but who is Donaire? I want to fight him again in the future and I want to destroy him.”
Darchinyan’s closing comment:
“Watch carefully (from the) first round because I don’t want you to miss any of my artwork and my punches. It’s going to be a great fight.”
Opening comments from Arce’s promoter, Top Rank’s Bob Arum:
“We are eagerly looking forward to when these two fighting tigers take center ring. Arce has been looking forward to facing Vic Darchinyan for a long time and he will get his opportunity on Feb. 7. Everybody who follows boxing, particularly those following the fighters in this weight category, has been talking about this fight for years and they are talking like this is a fight of the year. Finally, a week from Saturday, it will happen.
“It should be a terrific fight. Our camp is confident in victory for Jorge Arce. (And) There is a tremendous fight on the undercard between Antonio DeMarco against Kid Diamond. That is a bombs away fight. This is a great, great card.
“Tickets are going extremely well. We have priced them very reasonably. We expect a tremendous attendance for the fight. I think we’ll have at least 10,000 people which is a big crowd at the Honda Center.
“I think we’ve learned a lot that the economy is teaching us and that is that you need to keep your prices reasonable so that people can see world class boxing. They can be present, they can touch it, they can feel it. They can get excited like everyone did (last Saturday at STAPLES Center).
“Look at these prices — $250 is the top price and it goes down to $30. It is very affordable and now that the media have gotten behind boxing and writing about boxing there is a tremendous buzz in the Los Angeles for the sport, which is great.
“I want to commend SHOWTIME for giving people around the country the opportunity to see this match and the undercard match. I don’t have to sell this. You know you will see a great event at Honda Center a week from Saturday. ”
Opening comments from Arce (who is training in Temoaya, about 3,000 feet in the mountains of Mexico about an hour from Mexico City):
“I am very excited for this fight and thankful for the opportunity that Bob Arum has given me.. I know this is a fight that will bring back my credibility. I know a lot of people don’t think I’m at this level anymore, but this will give me the chance to prove that I am. I’m going to prove everyone wrong. I think I will knock him out.
“He thinks he is an intimidator. He always tells people what he will do and they get intimidated. But, I’m not that type of guy. His words won’t affect me. He can say and talk about what he is going to do to me in the ring, but I’m not going to fold. I’m a bigger guy than him. He won’t intimidate me.
“There is no extra show needed for this fight. The fight speaks for itself. He’s a great champion and I’m a great champion. I know he is strong enough that he can knock me out with one punch. I know I can knock him out in one punch. There’s nothing else to add to this fight. It’s going to be great.
“People want to see something good and anytime they see a fight I am in they always enjoy it. . That’s what I do, I fight and people love the way I fight. They want to see fighters fighting, not dancing. They want to see blood, I’ll give them blood. I love that. If it gets on me, I get more motivated and excited.
“I hope Darchinyan comes in the ring in shape so that we can have a good long fight and put on a good show. I want the fans to see a lot of blood and a lot of hitting. If I go down, I’m going to get up and I hope he does too.”
Arce’s response when asked about boxers in the lighter-weight divisions:
“Little guys don’t get paid the money we deserve. We give exciting fights every time we go out there. I just go in there and do the best I can to give the fans a good fight. Once this fight is over I hope people will remember it for a long time.
“It doesn’t bother me (that I’m not in the pound-for-pound rankings). I try to do the best I can. If I win this fight I think that I have to be considered as one of the best fighters in the world.”
Arce (on Darchinyan):
“I’ve been watching his videos. He’s just a one-handed fighter. All he has is the left hand. He’s fast and he’s strong, but once you take the left hand away he’s done. Nonito Donaire proved that. He can also be knocked out in one punch. But not me. I’m not moving up in weight. I’m moving down.
“He is a lefty, but he is not one of those cuties. He’s a real aggressive guy. I think that he will be fight in front of me and that will work perfect for me. I think my left hook is my best weapon. I think I will land my left before he does, and that will be the difference.
“I will knock him out. I don’t see this fight going 12 rounds. I see it as a knockout. If he knocks me down once I’m going to get back up. He’s going to have to throw a lot of punches to knock me out. He’s in for a long night.
“I’m looking forward to this fight. I know people in Mexico are sad that (Antonio) Margarito lost and I’m going to bring a big win for them.”
Arce (on his training in the mountains and his overall preparation):
“The big difference is we’re just working on our strength. Vic’s been fighting people who have been smaller than him. I’m not moving up, I’m coming down to this weight. I’m a big guy, I work very hard and I think my strength will be the difference in this fight. I’m looking forward to knocking him out.”
Arce (on Darchinyan’s power):
“I know that Darchinyan has a big punch, but he has to work to knock someone out. He is not a knockout punch artist. He can’t knock you out with one punch. It will take him a while. I don’t think he will knock me out especially since I’ll probably be 130 on the night of the fight.”
Arce (speaks of his confidence):
“I’m always self assured who I am and what I am about. When I train for fights like this I feel invincible. If he hits me three times I hit him six. If he hits me five I hit him ten. I am really preparing myself for this fight because I know how big this is. I’m ready.
“I’m fighting for life or death. No one can stop me”
Arce (on his colorful ring entrances):
“I know when I can do my entrances and when I can plan things. Sometimes fights are not interesting so I have to do something to entertain them. But this fight speaks for itself and I don’t have to do anything. He is a great champion and this will be a great fight. I know he will do everything to knock me out in one punch and we’ll do everything to put on a show. The extra isn’t needed.”
Arce (on the low point of his career):
“My career was taking off,(but) then when I lost to Mijares, people thought I wasn’t as good of a boxer as some people thought I was. They thought I was just a singer and a celebrity and an entertainer. But everyone has bad nights. I just had a bad night that day. The media and fans don’t understand that I can have a bad night.
“Now I face a guy that knocked out Mijares and I am going to knock him out. And then everyone will talk about me like they did before I lost to Mijares.
“I have never doubted myself. I knew I was good enough to get back in there and fight these guys but the opportunity never came. On Nov. 1, when we both fought on the same night, all I was hoping for what that I get the winner. I didn’t care who it was, I just wanted a chance to fight them. You don’t know how excited and hungry I am. I just can’t wait to fight this guy.”
Arce (on whether this fight has become personal):
“All I can tell you is I have always respected my opponents. We have been saying things about each other for a long time, but I respect him and am grateful for the opportunity.
“He has said things I don’t appreciate and when I work hard it makes me work a little harder, but when we get in the ring I am going to hurt him. I hope he stands there and fights for a while so I can really hurt him. If we have an early night then we have an early night but I want to stand there all night and hurt him.
“I hope he doesn’t fall early because I want to give him a lot of punches. I know he can take a lot of punches, so I hope he is ready for them. You don’t know how excited I am about this fight.”
Arce’s response to whether he feels he deserves to be in the top 10 (considering he’s lost just once in nine years):
“It doesn’t bother me. I try to do the best that I can. If I win this fight I know I will have to be considered. People will talk about me being the best fighter in the world. It will be something to be remembered by. ”
Arce (on whether he will win by knockout):
“I don’t see this fight going 12 rounds, but for him to knock me down he will have to work real hard. We’re in there to fight and one of us is going in there knocked out.”