Boxing

Donaire KO5 Darchinyan: 2007ís Clear Favorite for Upset of the Year

nonito donaire07.10.07 - By Jason Peck: Chances are that a perfect record means the same thing it did a century ago Ė the fighter in question simply hasnít fought anyone good enough. And even the best know that someone out there waits an unknown, unheralded fighter with the potential to pull an upset. Simply put, there is no such thing as an unbeatable fighter. But former IBF flyweight champ Vic Darchinyan came pretty damn close.

Thatís why his knockout loss this year is undoubtedly the biggest upset of 2007. In five rounds, Nonito Donaire scored one of the biggest, least-heralded wins Iíve ever seen.

In his defenses as champion, Darchinyan fought well, and often. In 28 fights he had never seen the 12th round until his last defense against Isaac Burgos; no one else survived that long. And Burgos paid dearly for making that far. He left the ring in a stricter, and several weeks passed before he left his coma and could recognize his children.

Darchinyan was the most dangerous kind of fighter Ė a proficient knockout artist with boxing skills so refined that he could pick the manner of execution. No matter what, he won. Added to that was Darchinyanís size and durability. Heíd taken shots before, and never flinched. In the ring, he towered over opponents.

Darchinyan planned on moving up in weight after his expected thrashing of Donaire, under the reasoning that flyweight just wasnít challenging enough. Darchinyan once described himself as a man picking on boys at 112, and few could disagree.

And Nonito Donaire? Quite frankly, he hadnít fought anyone.

He had a respectable record, and won many via decisive knockout. But many opponents barely even had winning records. Darchinyan was by far the most accomplished fighter Donaire had ever fought.

True, there was some incentive for him to win. Earlier in 2006, Darchinyan had beaten his brother Glenn via technical decision. And while family pride certainly matters when dealing with the Klitschko brothers, it didnít seem like it would amount to much against Darchinyan. It might give Nonaire an extra round or two, perhaps. But nothing more.

We all know the outcome. Donaire came out banging and put the unbeaten Armenian on his ass. Donaire just defended the title, while Darchinyan moved up three pounds to fight as a super-flyweight. A fight with former contender Z Gorres remains in the works.

Another note: 2007 also saw the shock defeat of WBC flyweight champ Pongsaklek Wonjongkam against Daisuke Naito, a man he had beaten twice before, once via brutal first round KO. The victory ended Wonjongkam's winning streak of 17 title defenses. Likewise, Takefumi Sakata KO'd WBA flyweight champ Lorenzo Parra within three rounds. It was another huge upset; Parra had already beaten Sakata.

So that makes for three solid champions who lost bouts to fighters they should have decimated. Overall, I'd like to recognize the flyweight division as a whole as the biggest boxing upset that no one really paid attention to in the first place.

Article posted on 07.12.2007



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