You may not like his style, or his attitude. You may believe he's overrated and that he's not half the fighter he thinks he is. But you have to admire Vic Darchinyan's willingness to risk everything it's taken him years to attain in a bold attempt to make boxing history.
Darchinyan now holds the World Boxing Association, World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation super flyweight titles. But when he fights in a nationally televised bout Saturday on Showtime, none of those belts will be at risk.
Instead, Darchinyan has abandoned them to challenge power-punching Joseph Agbeko for the IBF bantamweight belt. And if Darchinyan, who is ranked No. 7 in the current Yahoo! Sports boxing pound-for-pound poll, claims Agbeko's belt in their bout in Sunrise, Fla., he has no plans to defend it.
He'll look to move up to super bantamweight to challenge for a belt at that weight class. Darchinyan, who also has held a world flyweight title, would challenge Manny Pacquiao if he were given the opportunity. It's the kind of attitude sorely lacking in boxing, where too many fighters, as well as their managers and promoters, want to sit on the belt and take the easiest bouts possible.
Whatever his motivation, it's the kind of attitude that is a boon to the sport and its fans.
"I can't spend my career just defending, defending, defending," Darchinyan said. "I have to move up in weight and go after more titles. I have the power to demolish anyone. I'm going to keep moving up."
Now, it should be noted that Darchinyan hasn't sought to avenge his only defeat, a stunning fifth-round knockout by Nonite Donaire in 2007. His promoter, Gary Shaw, says it's because he only wants big fights and a Donaire rematch wouldn't be a big fight for Darchinyan, though the fact that Donaire left Shaw for Top Rank probably has the most to do with it.
That's a blight on Darchinyan's record that he should correct, or at least attempt to correct. He shouldn't let pettiness deter him from seeking that bout.
Other than that, though, Darchinyan deserves much credit. Boxing is a risky sport and he's willingly increasing the risk so as to improve the reward.
I only wish more boxers had that attitude.
Before we get to your questions and comments in the mailbag, I'd like to remind you follow me on Twitter. Feel free to send me questions for the mailbag there, though be sure to include your first and last name and hometown.
I deeply enjoyed your column on Alexis. I had the privilege to meet him at our golf club, where we became friends and played in 2007 and 2008. I came to know the gentleman he was, the passion he had for the sport, where he showed how good an athlete he was in hitting the ball so naturally. He would try very hard not to take his eyes from the ball and hit it. He would say to our foursome, "If I had taken my eyes away from my opponents' during a fight, I would have been knocked out several times in my career, and that is what I try to remember as I try to hit the golf ball." The fight for Mayor of Managua was the only "stolen" fight he won, one the "referees " would send in his favor. Sadly, this one cost him his life.
No doubt, he was a classy man and a terrific boxer. He was among the best I've ever seen.
Not that you care, but you are now not telling the truth. First off, the whole incident with Panama Lewis, Aaron Pryor and the mysterious bottle has never been substantiated. Panama did ask for the one he mixed, but you write about it like there is no doubt there was something in that bottle that turned the tables on this fight. I loved Alexis, but Pryor was too good for him at that weight. And to state that Alexis had the fight in hand going into the 13th round? That is just not true. As a result of your article, I looked it up and Alexis trailed, 127-124, on two judges' scorecards and was ahead, 127-125, on the third, meaning he would have needed at least a knockdown in the final two rounds to win. Pryor was winning the fight, and he even dominated more the second time when there was no mysterious bottle. As a reporter, you need to start reporting the facts without researching and subsequently hurting the legacies of great fighters like Pryor when their career is all they have left in life.
You're 100 percent wrong, and you are ignoring facts, Reye. First, I never stated as fact that there was anything in the bottle. Do I believe there was something illegal in it? Yes, absolutely. Watch HBO's documentary, "Assault in the Ring," which is about the Luis Resto-Billy Collins fight, and then tell me what you think of Panama Lewis. But all I wrote is that he gave Pryor the bottle and then Pryor had a big 14th round. Both are true statements. I never said he put anything in it. Also, when I talked about Arguello being in control of the fight, I was referencing the way the fight was going. Pryor dominated early and was way ahead. Arguello then turned it around and was coming back and was controlling the fight by the 13th. I wasn't referencing scorecards. I have great respect for Pryor, which I've written many times, and I agree that he was the better man that night. And he dominated the second fight. But the story was about Arguello, not Pryor, and I did nothing but praise Arguello. You're way off base, Reye. And remember, I'm a columnist and I'm paid to give my opinion, so even if I had done that, it would have simply been my opinion.
Chambers deserved coverage
A top 10 heavyweight from America turned in the most dominating performance of his career, crossing the Atlantic to fight a contender six inches taller and fifty pounds heavier in his own backyard, on the nation's birthday. He completely outboxed the other guy, both inside and outside, even scoring punches on his bicep ala Jack Johnson. A crushing left hook deposits the opponent on the canvas, sending his mouthpiece flying. In the post-fight interview, our man says, "I just wanted to give America a present on its birthday and show the fans what I'm about." Not only was this match not televised by any of the major networks, there's not even so much as a whisper of it on Yahoo! Sports. I am, of course, talking about Eddie Chambers' decision victory over Alexander Dimitrenko in Germany on July 4. When people decry the sorry state of affairs in heavyweight boxing, this is a prime reason why. Things are never going to improve if the networks don't step up and start giving these events and the fighters the exposure they deserve!
You're right, David. I let the ball slip here and in retrospect, it was a big mistake. We did have a story up post-fight, provided by our partners at Ringtv.com, not long after the fight, so I'll disagree with you on that. But I should have done a preview column on the fight and I did not. Chambers and Dimitrenko were each big enough to deserve that and I'll admit I am wrong in this one. Thanks for pointing it out.
Holy cow! I'm completely ignorant of this statistical category. Ken Adams has trained 18 world champs and has had five at one time. How does this not qualify him for the greater Hall of Fame? It sure sounds like a "huge" number of title/years ratio or titles/attempts. Either way, he's great for the sport and deserves the recognition.
Jose L. Munoz
Adams has long been one of the sharpest boxing minds I know. Had he not been so blunt and had been more of a self-promoter, his name would be at least the equal of Emanuel Steward's right now.
As a fan of British boxing, I'm slightly worried about a recent trend that I've noticed: British fighters keep their hands too low. Recently they've been getting caught early and cold. Amir Khan versus Breidis Prescott (and others before that), Ricky Hatton versus Manny Pacquiao (I had Ricky winning the second round before he got nailed), Joe Calzaghe versus both Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones and Enzo Maccarinelli versus David Haye. Haye and Carl Froch both keep their hands low, too. Do you think there is a fundamental problem with the way British fighters are trained, or are my expectations unrealistically high? I think the next few years could be good for us with the likes of James DeGale, Tyson Fury, Frankie Gavin, Billy Joe Saunders and plenty of others. But only if they keep their hands up!
It's not only a problem in the U.K., Ollie. It's a problem everywhere around the world. There aren't nearly enough quality trainers, and too many fighters try to emulate Muhammad Ali even though they're not nearly as talented as he was when he did that. I'd like to see it done away with, too.