The Fantastic Flyweights

03.11.05 - By Joseph Carlo Russo: The flyweight division has always been somewhat of a hidden gem buried deep in the rubble that is boxing’s weight classes. Those who pursued it were often pleasantly surprised by their findings, and those who disregarded it perceived it as unnecessarily futile and never thought to explore it otherwise. But if the flyweight division were marketed and televised in the proper manner that it deserves such an uninviting mindset toward it would never emerge. Perhaps then the diamond in the ruff of a division that it is would be revealed..

It’s a shame that the flyweight division being rich in talent and abundant in excitement runs scarce on media coverage and fight broadcasting. The flyweight division has it all. If you’re a fan of slick boxers there’s Hussein Hussein, if you prefer hard hitters and explosive knockouts there’s Brian Viloria, if you fancy tenacious, ferocious types there’s Vic Darchinyan, and if you like pure warriors there’s Jorge Arce. Out of those four fighters alone, all coming from different backgrounds and offering different styles, there are a number of potentially entertaining fights to be made. And, sadly, those are the only four guys in the flyweight division that I can say that about because the rest have yet to appear on TV! But even on the basis of these four men, in the past year the flyweight division has provided more thrills and entertainment than any heavyweight hugfest that’s been showcased recently.

A little less than a year ago on December 16th, 2004, heavyhitting Armenian-Australian Vic Darchinyan put his undefeated record on the line against the undefeated IBF titleholder Irene Pacheco. Appearing in his first bout outside of Australia Darchinyan, hungry to be noticed and determined to impress exhibited tenacity and ferocity of the utmost extent as he pressed the action from the opening bell. Living up to his nickname “The Raging Bull” Darchinyan rarely took a step back and never once revealed signs of quit as commentators insisted Pacheco was dominating the fight. It was an entertaining fight all the way through that ended as such with Darchinyan staging a late rally and releasing his hands to connect with heavy power shots, which twice sent the undefeated Columbian to the canvas as he succumbed to the furious punching Darchinyan via 11th round TKO, suffering his first loss and that of his IBF belt as well. Unfortunately, the first time I got the opportunity to see this spectacular bout was approximately 10 months later. Had I not caught it I would have never known the skill, power, potential, and determination embodied in the 111 pound “Raging Bull” Vic Darchinyan.

Then on September 10th,2005 featured on the undercard of a Pacquiao/Morales doublebill was the 112 pound powerhouse nicknamed ‘The Hawaiian Punch.” Brian Viloria who is now a highly rated flyweight prospect was regarded as the hardest puncher on the 2000 US Olympic Team. This kid’s promise and potential really shined as his bout with Eric Ortiz ended with a punishing right hand, sending Ortiz to the canvas, only to get up and wobble back down seconds later. This fight could and should have easily taken the place of the Freddie Roach biography that was shown instead.

And, then of course, there was the 2005 flyweight fight of all flyweight fights, one that evidenced all the reasons why the flyweight division should be recognized and revered like the others. On March 19th, 2005, showcased as an undercard leading up to a bout that was speculated to be a war itself, was Jorge “El Travieso” Arce vs. Hussein Hussein. In a fight that revisited the word “war”, this bout had it all, boxing, brawling, bruising, and bleeding. Jorge Arce vs. Hussein Hussein was nothing short of a brutally beautiful fight as it gave Pacquiao vs. Morales a run for its money, and will probably be a runner-up for 2005 fight of the year.

Darchinyan/Pacheco, Viloria/Ortiz, and Arce/Hussein were the only three flyweight bouts that I caught this past year and were also some of the most entertaining fights I’ve seen all year. Each one of these fights exhibited outstanding entertainment, introduced superbly talented fighters and evidenced qualities & aspects that make the flyweight division one to write home about. Hopefully, it will come to be granted substantial TV coverage and will be marketed deservedly so we can all look forward to more future fantastic flyweight fights!

Article posted on 03.11.2005

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