It wasn't the Fight of the Year candidate it had potential to be, but after 12 mean, ugly and spirited rounds of brawling, IBF bantamweight titlist Joseph Agbeko retained with a tight unanimous decision over top ten pound-for-pounder Vic Darchinyan on Showtime from Sunrise, Florida.
Agbeko (27-1, 22 KO) won on scores of 116-111, 114-113 and 114-113 in a fight that featured multiple headbutts, low blows, elbows, shoves and trips. There was little technique on display whatsoever and it seemed like Darchinyan had reverted back into his pure "destroyer mode." Agbeko never seemed dented by Darchinyan, whose power just may not travel up to 118 pounds, but also acquits Agbeko as one tough son of a gun. There is no denying that Agbeko took Darchinyan out of his game, or perhaps that Darchinyan simply wasn't "feeling it" tonight. He came in at 127 pounds for the fight, with Agbeko at 121.
By the end of the night, Darchinyan was a bloody mess from punches and illegal shots. I had Agbeko winning 114-113 on the strength of a 12th round that Darchinyan simply didn't fight. He could have won this fight. He lost early, came back, rallied, and found his way into the bout. He had a chance to win. He didn't do it.
Darchinyan (32-2-1, 26 KO) is back to the drawing board after this one. He doesn't lose a lot; he lost to a good, rough fighter that stood up to him and could take his shots, and picked at him enough with sneaky lead rights to score points. He hurt Darchinyan far more than Darchinyan even bothered him with punches, and if Agbeko had a better left hook to throw in, he might well have stopped Darchinyan the way Nonito Donaire did.
It was definitely a disappointing night for the Armenian, but Vic will be back because he'll fight anyone. For Agbeko, I hope this means another big fight. Hell, I wouldn't even mind a rematch if neither of them can find something more lucrative, and given the shape of the bantamweight division and even 115 and 122, there just might not be much there.
On the undercard, Anges Adjaho tried to flop his way into referee help, but instead was counted out against Antonio DeMarco. The fight started very slowly before developing into a pretty fun throw-down.
We'll have more tomorrow, and we want to end the night's coverage by saying it one more time: Rest in peace, Arturo.