What Next For Agbeko And Darchinyan?

by James Slater - 29-year-old Joseph Agbeko of Ghana upset the odds last night as he retained his IBF bantamweight crown with a hard-fought unanimous decision victory over the man invading his weight class, Vic Darchinyan. Despite the vast majority of boxing experts asked on Showtime's poll picking "The Raging Bull" to win (only three writers picked Agbeko), the man with the real middle names of King Kong rose to the occasion and fought a career-best fight.

The question now is, what next for both men?

Before the fight both warriors talked a lot of trash, and both promised a KO win. Indeed, with the bad blood and all, the fact that the fight went the full 12-rounds was something of a shock. In hindsight, was 118-pounds a step to far for Darchinyan? Or will the Armenian-born puncher, who said post-fight that he'd taken a different tactic into the fight and that he'd made a mistake, want a rematch? Will Agbeko, who said before the fight that he'd like to unify the titles at bantamweight, give him one?

Then there is the name of Nonito Donaire. Though the Filipino doesn't figure to be in Agbeko's immediate future as he's just made the move up to super-flyweight (set to meet Rafael Concepcion for the interim WBA super-fly belt in August) a rematch with Darchinyan would definitely be a possibility. Darchinyan did say pre-fight that after he'd beaten Agbeko, as he was sure he would, he'd take a return with the man who sensationally KO'd him in 5-rounds a couple of years ago. Now that he's lost to Agbeko, will Darchinyan move back down in weight to give us the fight we all want to see?

In time, as great as he is, Donaire may well move up to bantamweight though, and a fight between he and Agbeko in 2010 would no doubt be a top match. Both the winner and loser from last night's fight in Sunrise, Florida have a number of options to explore. Agbeko says he wants to one day be considered one of the best fighters in the world pound-for-pound, and Darchinyan, who came up short in his attempt to join the all-time greats last night, is far from finished.

A rematch, though interesting, would not be as hyped or as anticipated as last night's fight was. But we will have to wait and see what happens. Agbeko will surely have a mandatory to take care of, but after that he will hopefully be free to take the big fights he wants.

Huge praise must go to the man born in Accra, Ghana, as he was picked against by so many people going into last night's rumble. King Kong said before the fight he'd turn "The Raging Bull" into "The Raging Bullshitter" and he did just that. I doing so, the 29-year-old who is now 27-1(22) as a pro, became only the second man to ever beat the now 32-2-1(26) 33-year-old.

Article posted on 12.07.2009

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