Feature Story

Fightwriter: Darchinyan returns

By Graham Houston

In his last appearance Vic Darchinyan easily demolished Mexico’s Tomas Rojas in two rounds. So far, no Mexican fighter has been able to stand up to the powerful Aussie-Armenian. Darchinyan bludgeoned Cristian Mijares, busted up Jorge Arce and overpowered contenders Victor Burgos and Luis Maldonado.

On Saturday, with TV coverage on Showtime, it is the turn of Rodrigo Guerrero to see if he can reverse the tide and score the greatest victory of his life, and one that would surely delight the fans in Old Mexico.

Guerrero faces a massive task, of course. He has had just 15 bouts, with his one loss coming by majority decision. His finest win came in July 2008, when he won a split 12-round decision over the tough, busy-punching Juan Alberto Rosas. Now Guerrero goes in with not simply a two-weight world champion at 115 pounds but perhaps one of the most powerful hitters in the history of the lighter weight classes (say, flyweight to bantamweight).

I have to admit I thought that Rojas, a tall, quick, rangy southpaw, had the seasoning and style to upset the odds against Darchinyan. Oops, I got that one a bit wrong. After enjoying success in the opening round, Rojas started to drop his hands and taunt Darchinyan in the second. Next thing you knew, there was Rojas down and out, courtesy of a big left hand from Darchinyan’s southpaw stance. Darchinyan is not the sort of fighter with whom an opponent can play games. Just one mistake can mean lights out.

Guerrero surely knows he cannot take an foolish chances in the manner of Rojas.

The challenger is little known, even to hard-core fight fans, but sometimes a young, ambitious Mexican fighter can prove to be far better than his record suggests.

Guerrero talked a confident fight this week, telling Showtime that he can fight and that he has power. “I know a lot of people may not have heard of me, but I guarantee I am not here to fall down in the first or 12th round — or any round, for that matter,” Guerrero said. “People and fans who have never seen me fight are saying I’m no good. I believe they are all in for a surprise, a really big surprise.”

I haven’t seen Guerrero so I don’t know what to expect from him. It seems that he is a southpaw switch-hitter, meaning that he boxes from both the orthodox and “lefty” stances.

If Darchinyan isn’t fully motivated for this routine type of fight, then Guerrero might have a chance to land punches and score points, at least for a while, but the gulf in experience and punching power looks too wide for this to be a truly competitive contest. It seems inevitable that at some stage in the proceedings Darchinyan will catch and hurt Guerrero, and get him out of the fight. The oddsmakers have set an over/under of 6.5 rounds. This looks right to me. If Guerrero doesn’t get crunched quickly he might have the heart and fighting spirit to go into the second half of the fight. I’m thinking that Darchinyan stops his man around the sixth or seventh round but without having seen Guerrero this is just a guess. It could go longer or shorter, but at the end of the fight I will be shocked if it is not Darchinyan who has his hand raised.

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