It's been a while, but finally there's another major fight to get down some proper picks. For those of you with casually interested boxing friends like I have, or those that you've made into boxing fans like I have, or even the skeptics who went, "That's it?" when you invited them over for some big fight, this is one to recommend.
Joseph Agbeko v. Vic Darchinyan (Saturday, Showtime, 9 ET - 12 Rounds - Agbeko's IBF bantamweight title on the line)
This is one of those fights that has Fight of the Year Contender stamped all over its violent face. Vic Darchinyan (32-1-1, 26 KO) would probably leap into my pound-for-pound top five were he to dominate Joseph Agbeko in this fight. It'd be a third weight class where he's won a title belt, and he cleaned out 115 pounds to the point where there was legitimately no reason to stay any longer. He's been phenomenal in his last three fights, the best he's ever looked, dominating Dmitri Kirilov, Cristian Mijares and Jorge Arce. All three of them were completely out of their depth against the re-focused "Raging Bull."
"Bull," meet "King Kong" Agbeko. Born in Ghana and now living in the Bronx, Agbeko is a double-tough customer with good power (26-1, 22 KO), tons of guts, and an ability to win a war, which he'll probably have to do against Darchinyan. In terms of pure boxing skills, Darchinyan is his superior, an underrated technician who pulls it out to gain control of a fight. Darchinyan mixing his old amateur form with the "crab-style" power game he's known for has made him one of the best fighters in the sport today. Agbeko will need to out-bomb him to win, I believe.
And there's the rub: If this turns into a firefight, all bets are off. We have seen Vic Darchinyan knocked silly by Nonito Donaire at 112 pounds. Yes, it was one of the most perfectly timed punches you'll ever see, but he was in freaking Dreamland. Agbeko has the sort of power that can dent Vic's chin if he gets to it, and he's not going to stop trying to get to it.
We didn't do a picks thread for Ortiz-Maidana, but if we had, I would've told you that was a 50-50 fight to me on paper. Like that one, this has a favorite, but it's a toss-up bout in my view. Darchinyan deserves to be in that favorited role. But Agbeko is an excellent opponent and the type of guy it's hard to bet against. He won't have much real size advantage and he doesn't figure to be the most daunting opponent of Vic's career. That has turned out to be Donaire, obviously, and many felt that Mijares would totally dominate Vic, too. He didn't. Darchinyan is not the same fighter he was when he lost to Donaire.
I expect a war, I expect fireworks, and I expect some mean-spirited fighting. This is gonna be a good one. Darchinyan TKO-11
Non-Official Pick: Give me Antonio DeMarco in a heck of a good undercard scrap over Anges Adjaho.