Vic Darchinyan is a small man with a big heart and something to prove. In short, there was nothing that would derail his plans to beat-down Yonnhy Perez in their vacant International Boxing Organization bantamweight championship match last Saturday at the Nokia Theatre.
With the 96th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide as a backdrop, and the split decision setback to undefeated Abner Mares in their title clash last December, the 35-year-old Darchinyan wanted to give his countrymen something to remember.
Darchinyan stopped Perez, who suffered a deep cut when accidentally head-butted early in the fifth round, and earned a technical decision victory.
The other co-main event was scrubbed after Joseph Agbeko, the International Boxing Federation bantamweight champ, injured his back earlier in the week in what doctors said was a sudden onset of sciatica. Agbeko was scheduled to meet Mares, the World Boxing Council Silver Belt champ.
Perez, a native of Colombia, was taken to a hospital in order to have the gash that was spewing blood, closed.
The cut to Perez’s forehead, near his right eye, halted the scheduled 12-rounder, and though it wasn’t the knockout Darchinyan wanted, it was good enough.
When stopped at 1:07 of the fifth round, all three judges sided with Darchinyan, who raised his record to 36-3-1 with 27 knockouts, by identical scores of 50-44.
It was clear Darchinyan, born in Armenia, but who resides in Australia, was gunning for a knockout from the opening bell.
Perez didn’t have it this night, often getting tagged while on the ropes, and when not stationed there, was walloped in the middle of the ring as he offered little resistance.
“My name is the Raging Bull,’’ said Darchinyan, “and it’s good to get back to the brawling style. One more round, I would have knocked him out. He quit. The referee asked if he wanted to fight. He said no.”
The fourth round saw Darchinyan connect with at least seven clean shots to the head and body, and it seemed only a matter of time before the bout would end.
Darchinyan made his way toward Perez (20-2-1 with 14 KO’s) in the opening round, often attacking the body with both hands, something he’ll do on occasion. Most of the time, he’s a head-hunter.
Darchinyan grazed the 32-year-old Perez with a short left hook in the second round, and after what appeared to be a push, but ruled a knockdown, was in control.
“From the first round I was too strong,’’ said Darchinyan, a two-division world champion. “I took big punches. I wanted to knock him out.”
More stunned than anything, Perez had little ammunition to combat the more-aggressive southpaw.
“I’m truly disappointed the fight had to end the way it did,’’ said Perez, a former IBF and North American Boxing Federation bantamweight belt holder.
Perez rallied in the third round, flashing an offensive array, but this was his only highlight.
Darchinyan was gleeful afterward. “My next fight will be against Abner Mares or Nonito Donaire,’’ he said. “I’ll fight either one. But I’d like to fight Donaire.”
Will Darchinyan get his wish? For now he’s happy with the victory. “If they won’t fight me,’’ he said, “Maybe I’ll move up in weight.”
Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, and is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a columnist for socalboxing.wordpress.com. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.