Donaire survives war to stop Darchinyan, Mikey Garcia Impresses Again
By Peter Wells
On a night of boxing that was meant to deliver, it did not disappoint, three thrilling fights lived up to and surpassed expectations, as knockdowns, knockouts, thrills and spills were part of the starter, the main dish and dessert.
In the co-feature of the evening, Nonito Donaire was pushed hard and flirted with defeat but managed to pull it out the bag when he needed it most. In the 9th round Donaire now 32-2(21) finished off Vic Darchinyan 39-6-1(28) in spectacular fashion, but what ensued that 9th round was far from what was expected. Donaire struggled and worries over what the Rigondeaux defeat has done to him still remain.
The fire fight began in rather cautious fashion in the opener, but it didn’t take long for the two fighters to open up. Darchinyan seemingly could not miss with the left hand and Nonito was struggling from the 2nd round onwards. Boxing cautiously and throwing less and less punches. Donaire only seemed to let his hands go in exchanges and unusually he was not winning all the exchanges either.
The left hand of Darchinyan remained the key punch of the fight and an uppercut in round 4 sent Donaire onto his heels before ending the round with a flurry as he did in the 5th. The 6th was close but the 7th began to swing in the favour of Donaire who began to take centre ring and was much more effective. With the space to move back and launch hard counter-punches Nonito began to sting Darchinyan while making him miss, closing in on Darchinyan as the fight wore on into the final few rounds.
Then in the penultimate round Nonito hurt Darchinyan on the ropes, sending him to the canvas with the left hook. Darchinyan was wobbly when he rose and should not have been allowed to continue, clearly not having all his senses about him, the referee made a poor call. Darchinyan continued to take punishment before the referee finally came to his rescue, saving the Armenian from further punishment.
An impressive finish from Nonito but all in all it was a poor performance, taking nothing away from Darchinyan who was very good indeed, but Donaire took far too long to open up himself and was open to the left hand all night long. It’s likely that Donaire can win a world championship at Featherweight but it’s unlikely he’ll replicate his dominance that he had in the lower weight classes, and it is even more unlikely that he’ll avenge his defeat to the incredible Guillermo Rigondeaux.
In the official main event and with the most impressive performance of the night, Mikey Garcia moved to 33-0(28) with a sickening 8th round knockout of Rocky Martinez 27-2-2(16). The left hook to the body left Martinez reeling on the canvas unable to rise, bringing an end to his brave stand against the ever improving Garcia.
Garcia touched the canvas in the 2nd round, much like Andrade earlier on the card it was a flash knockdown and from then on it was Garcia breaking the tough Puerto Rican champion down. Each round Martinez was stunned by the right hand and finally in round 8 when shots to the head couldn’t break Martinez, the technician went down stairs and found the answer to the puzzle.
Yet again Garcia was technically perfect and remained patient when he hurt Garcia, not rushing in and making any mistakes, methodically breaking Martinez down. Garcia is now the WBO Super Featherweight champion and is deserving of all the plaudits coming his way. Garcia is a star and there is a whole lot more to come.
With the vacant WBO Light Middleweight title on the line, Demetrius Andrade survived a first round knockdown to score a split decision win over Vanes Martirosyan. In an entertaining and fast paced contest that admittedly slowed as the fight wore on, lived up to expectations as a tactical battle. The bout took many twists and turns along the way before the final cards read 114-113 & 117-110 Andrade and 115-112 Martirosyan.
Although some rounds were close it was hard to see the Armenian winning the contest as the younger and fresher Andrade set the pace throughout the fight. In the first stanza after dominating the round with the southpaw left hand, Andrade was caught flush by a counter left hook, leaving him on the canvas for the first time in his now 20 fight career. Andrade recovered well but his open defence led to Vanes having success throughout the first 6 rounds. It was that sloppiness when pulling back his punches that kept the fight close.
But as the fight wore on, so did Martirosyan whose energy levels dropped, allowing the favourite to take control, pulling away, especially in the championships rounds, dominating behind the jab and good movement and keeping out of any danger as Vanes swung wildly.
With the win Martirosyan drops to 33-1-1(22) while the new WBO Light Middleweight champion improves to 20-0(13).
Also on the card Nicholas Walters destroyed Alberto Garza in 4 rounds, finishing with a show reel knockout. Walters retained his WBA ‘world’ Featherweight title and improved to 23-0(19) while Garza drops to 25-6-1(20).
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