Donaire vs. Darchinyan 2 & Garcia vs. Martinez: A bridge to nowhere

By Chris Carlson - 11/08/2013 - Comments

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Normally when two elite fighters are co-featured on a card together you can expect the winners (favorites) to be matched up in a (super) fight of sorts at some point in the near future.

It’s a formula that’s been used to build or as Bob Arum would say “marinate”, certain fights that have been labeled by the fans as must see fights.

Usually the promoters put each fighter in a showcase type fight for future highlight replays that will be used as fuel to stoke the fire of a talked about fight.

Some fights never come to fruition due to the inner political issues of the business of boxing.

The leading example would be a super fight that never happened between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao all over a Cold War and drug testing.

Others fall to the waste side when fighters fail in the ring most recently Abner Mares getting blasted out in the first round by Johnny Gonzalez on a co-feature card designed to build a fight with Leo Santa Cruz.

Another recent notable fight that the masses were clamoring for was Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa, whom Bob Arum left on the back burner marinating too long allowing Lopez to get KO’d by a Mexican rival Orlando Salido after showing some weakness is his fight with Roger Mtagwa.

Arum let it simmer too long sure but seeing Lopez looking like a walking zombie late in that Mtagwa fight I can’t blame Arum for putting him in with a slower, older fight rather than a highly skilled fighter with blistering hand speed with power in Yuriorkis Gamboa.

This weekend’s HBO triple-header also includes an intriguing fight that may be the only matchup with drama for the outcome between Vanes Martirosyan and Demetrius Andrade.

The co-features have showcase type fight card that you normally see when two names are building a fight between each other.

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Both house fighters had come forward opponents in Vic Darchinyan and Rocky Martinez to help showcase their counter punching approach.

Unfortunately due to the fighters sharing the same trainer Robert Garcia and the friendship that has been formed, unless something drastic changes we will never see a fight between these two top-notch counterpunches.

A chance to see these two fighters with uber skill sets and true one punch power to boot, facing off in the ring would draw plenty of interested hardcore fans that rarely get to see high speed chess.

I totally understand that Donaire is coming off a loss and Garcia is adjusting to a new junior lightweight division, yet I’m still disappointed in this card to an extent.

At least with a showcase hyped event you get the possibility of a pot of gold under the rainbow.

Garcia gets a pass because lack of talent at the 130 division for belt holders and contenders.

But Nonito doesn’t get a pass for his 10 round rematch fight with Vic Darchinyan.

A rematch that has been talked about by Bob Arum and Darchinyan for years now as if to say the judges didn’t get it right or it was just a lucky punch that the “Filipino Flash” landed in an otherwise dominant performance by Vic.

I get it from the Darchinyan side of things. Why wouldn’t he take or want the biggest name and payday he can get even if he has to go up to 126 after seemingly topping out at 122.

Even before the loss to Guillermo Rigondueax, Arum and Donaire were building towards a rematch with Vic despite the many names available in both of the Top Rank and Golden Boy’s stables.

I’ve never been on the bandwagon like some in the forums or on twitter who were talking about this rematch.

I have always been confused about why it was being talked about besides from the obvious monetary reasons.

I’m still somewhat surprised that the man in charge at HBO Ken Hershman, who has attempted to do away with high priced mismatches from the old regime, would want to have anything to do with this fight.

Maybe it’s just me taking a purist point of view not allowing other important facts to outweigh my personal selfishness to see important fights.

As a boxing fan we have been abused having to put up with the “other” reasons why a rematch from a dominate one sided performance is worthwhile for Top Rank and HBO or any other network or promoter.

Money over everything is a common theme is boxing and the corporate world in general.

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Vic Darchinyan at these lower weigh divisions is considered a household name and was on a tear coming into the first meeting with Donaire as a huge favorite.

Styles make fights and fighters with entertaining styles will probably get an opportunity before a defensive minded counter puncher.

Entertainment wins out over substance in boxing and Vic has giving us plenty of fights to get excited about in the past.

Two losses in a row for most fighters would at least drop them down a few notches, the numbers get even worse at the lower the weight, so Top Rank and HBO needed a recognizable name that is just believable enough or popular enough to help Donaire get back on track.

Can Vic improve his first fight mistakes and come out on top in the rematch?

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It’s very doubtful he can make the necessary adjustments to win.

Vic can start with the basics and we all know that means his jab has to be established with some success.

In his first fight with Nonito, Vic came out overconfident as ever leaving himself wide open to thunderous counter left hooks and straight right hands to the head and body that ultimately ended his night by TKO after previously never being down let alone hurt.

Darchinyan from time to time landed potent hooks and straight left hands but would be countered immediately thus killing any short live momentum.

We will most likely get one of two things out of Vic Darchinyan this Saturday night.

We could get a focused on his gameplan Vic, a Vic that is not just bulldozing his way to the target instead one who is willing to set up his awkward style with a jab and use faints off of that jab in an attempt to land his power punches.

Or we get the Vic that wants to live up to his “Raging Bull” moniker and try to knock the living daylights out of Donaire.

Trying to land one big punch early will only put Darhinyan in a whole on the scorecards.

There is a third, Vic comes out a tad bit safer, able to land his power punches from awkward angles, but then gets too cocky going for a one punch KO, and we end up getting flashbacks from the 5th round TKO that ended his unbeaten reign the first time around.

No matter what the final outcome is Top Rank and HBO are banking on the fight to be entertaining even if it’s a one side beat down by Donaire, which is exactly my official prediction for Nonito Donaire to win by T.K.O in the late rounds.

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I’m not nearly as critical about the Mikey Garcia vs. Rocky Martinez fight that should provide enough action to satisfy the viewing audience.

At 130 the talent for belt holders or contenders is just plain weak.

That’s no to discount Roman “Rocky” Martinez or any of the Japanese fighters who control the division.

Whether this fight is for a world title or not, stylistically speaking, Martinez fits the showcase mold for Garcia, who will be need to adjust to a new weight class after having majors weigh issues in his last fight at featherweight.

Although I see this as an action fight, playing out much the way the co-feature will, a one side dominant performance with more than likely a dramatic ending.

If Ricky Burns and Juan Carlos Burgos were able to use their boxing abilities to win or in Burgos’s case, draw, in albeit very competitive fights, this leads me to believe that Mikey Garcia will be the one who has his hand raised when it’s all said and done.

Rocky brings constant pressure with left hooks to the body and head being a major strength along with a good chin.
He has show some weakness relying on his offense to be his best defense, his punches can get loopy and rhythm easy to time coming straight in.

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With that said there are some unknowns for this matchup mainly how will Garcia’s body and punching power react to being at a higher weight class.

To that I say he will be fine or I don’t see it being enough of advantage to shorten that gap of talent that Garcia has over Martinez.

My official prediction is Mikey Garcia by T.K.O or unanimous decision.

In the opening fight between Vanes Martirosyan and Demetrius Andrade I anticipate a close yet clear win for Andrade.

I see his boxing ability being the difference in what may not be the most interesting fight but is a legit one at the division with each fighter getting their opportunity to climb the ladder at 154.

Erislandy Lara has similar skills to Andrade and Vanes was able to stifle much of what Lara was trying to do so I do give Vanes a real chance to win this fight.

Let’s just hope this 50-50 fight has more action than Vanes’s fight with Lara.

All and all this Triple-header from Top Rank and HBO will give the fans entertaining fights without much meaning. Two co-feature showcase fights without a means to an end.

Boxing fans must hope for some highlight reel worthy knockouts that end with the fighter who got KO’d able to walk away healthy after the fight.

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Written by Chris Carlson Owner and Host of Rope A Dope Radio at

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