Donaire returns to action vs Darchinyan

Carlos Cinco
Nonito Donaire, coming off a loss to Rigondeaux, steps back into the ring against a familiar opponent - Vic Darchinyan

REMATCH. Nonito Donaire Jr steps back into the ring against a familiar opponent - Vic Darchinyan. File photo by AFP

SINGAPORE – Before Manny Pacquiao steps into the ring to fight Brandon Rios in a few weeks, fans are excited to see the return of Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire (31-2, 20 knockouts), as he makes his way back to the squared circle to face old nemesis, Vic “The Raging Bull” Darchinyan (39-5-1, 28 knockouts).

Donaire, in his last fight, suffered his first loss in nearly 12 years, dropping a wide unanimous decision to Guillermo Rigondeaux in a fight which saw Donaire uncharacteristically out-boxed for the majority of the 12-round title fight.

Darchinyan himself is on the comeback trail. Since being brutally stopped by Donaire back in 2007, Vic has had an up and down career which saw him in some clankers as well as a handful of inspiring performances.

Now both fighters find themselves once again in each other’s crosshairs as they meet at the center of the ring on Saturday night, November 9 (Sunday, November 10 Philippine time) at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. The well-documented history between the two should provide enough drama to sell the fight to both fan bases. This has personal written all over it.

Bad blood

The trash-talking Darchinyan has long claimed that Donaire is avoiding a rematch with him but after being exposed by his fiery Filipino counterpart, the Armenian-born Australian hasn’t possessed nearly the same amount of firepower in his fists as he did earlier in his career.

Still, a win for Darchinyan would turn his career around, and bring him back into the mix.

“This is a very important fight for me,” said Darchinyan.

“It gives me the opportunity to face and defeat an opponent who beat me in the past. This win will be sweet revenge for me,” he added.

REVENGE. Vic Darchinyan is looking to avenge his 2007 loss to Nonito Donaire Jr. File photo by Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP

No one knows how much Darchinyan really wants to get back in the ring with Donaire, regardless of what he says. Considering the fact that it was Donaire’s left hook that separated him from his senses when they first met, Darchinyan is a man driven by vengeance.

Darchinyan definitely has payback on his mind, and a rematch with Donaire was a lucrative option, one that he could not refuse even though it was Donaire who sent him crashing down to Earth in the first place.

But while Darchinyan has been dilly-dallying in the doldrums of mediocrity since then, Donaire has established himself as a marquee name in the sport. Though Donaire is coming off a loss, he’s far and away the favorite to win this fight.

Spending time away from his newborn son Jarel and wife Rachel, Donaire has been working hard in the gym with head coach Robert Garcia, along with stable-mates Brandon Rios and Mikey Garcia. (READ: Firstborn gives Donaire motivation for comeback)

“I’m getting ready and will train hard and not let anything disrupt my preparation,” said a focused Donaire.

“I want to come back and establish my name and that’s all I’m thinking of right now.”

Although their rematch is 6 years in the making, there’s no love-lost between the two and they will finally get to settle the score this Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

Fight preview

So what can we expect from both pugilists after their paths divided only to be intertwined once again?

Expect to see the same, smart fighter in Donaire as he again plays matador to Darchinyan’s bull.

BOUNCE BACK. Donaire, coming off a loss vs Rigondeaux, should have no trouble disposing of Darchinyan. File photo by Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP

Donaire is leagues above Darchinyan in terms of pure boxing skill, that much is set in stone. Although Darchinyan possesses the equalizer in the power of his punches, Donaire has excelled in the knockout department just as much using his main weapon – the same left hook that obliterated Darchinyan in their first encounter.

Darchinyan has improved his boxing somewhat since then, but not by much. He still goes for the knockout way too carelessly and leaves himself open to be countered.

“I am still looking for the knockout,” Darchinyan told Armenpress.

“I know he is a scared chicken. I am coming to prove it,” Darchinyan added.

Darchinyan will most likely be telegraphed right in front of Donaire all-night trying to land a haymaker. But as was the case before, Donaire is much smarter than his forward-coming brawler of an opponent. Look for Donaire to use his superior ring intelligence to bewilder Darchinyan and pepper him with stiff counters.

Expect Donaire to be on top of his game, as he aims to re-establish himself as a key player in Boxing’s lighter weight classes.

“It’s time to get better, correct the mistake [against Rigondeaux],” Donaire told Lance Pugmire of the LA Times.

“We’re correcting it slowly, getting better all the time. It was like I was just walking without direction.”

A focused Donaire is a scary Donaire, and when he has it firing on all cylinders, the Filipino warrior is tough to beat.

Donaire chose the perfect opponent to come back to the ring to – someone easy to hit and technically lacking. Expect an easy win for Donaire, in a fight which has the potential to replicate the action of the original.

Donaire-Darchinyan II is scheduled for 10-rounds and is a non-title fight. It will be Donaire’s first fight as a Featherweight. –

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