Nonito Donaire says he'd be willing to fight Vic Darchinyan again for the right offer. Donaire handed Darchinyan his first loss with a stunningly dominant fifth round TKO back in 2007.
Donaire, who holds the interim WBA junior bantamweight title, told insidesports.ph that it's a rematch he wants:
"I've been waiting for that fight. I'm here and I hope he's got enough confidence for him to step up into the ring with me again. ... [H]e always calls me out. He's always doing that. There's nothing new about Darchinyan. That's how he is and that's how he'll always be. If they can make the fight happen that's fine. I'm well ready for this fight and I'm actually excited to see that the fight will happen."
Both sides have blamed the other for a long time when it comes to making a rematch. We've talked about this before and I always say the same thing, but I'll say it again. What the two fighters have done in the two years since their bout has, I think, skewed the perception for some. Since losing that fight, Darchinyan has stepped up in weight and crushed the likes of Cristian Mijares, Dmitri Kirilov, Jorge Arce and Tomas Rojas, all solid contenders. Mijares was even among the P4P top ten for many at the time, and Darchinyan manhandled him.
Meanwhile, Donaire's career stagnated when it should have flourished. Here you have an exciting young Filipino that scored one of the most memorable and shocking wins of 2007, and since then he's dealt with promoter issues (going from Gary Shaw to Top Rank) and a stream of poorly-marketed fights.
Five months after beating Darchinyan, Donaire tore up Luis Maldonado on Showtime. With the Shaw fallout, it took Donaire 11 months to get back in the ring, beating Moruti Mthalane (TKO-6), and then defended his 112-pound title one more time, smoking then-unbeaten Raul Martinez in four. He went up to 115 and beat Rafael Concepcion, a gritty guy whose career was made when he shocked AJ Banal in 2008.
Darchinyan has been all over Showtime, beating up opponents and making noise. Hell, his summer loss to Joseph Agbeko was more positive for his career than Donaire's last three wins, none of which have been off of PPV in America.
What I'm getting at is simple. People forget that it wasn't some lucky, fluky one-shot knockout. Oh, it was a perfectly timed left hook that knocked Darchinyan into the next zip code for a little bit, but Donaire had dominated that entire fight, having the perfect counter style to wail away on the lunging, awkward "Raging Bull."
In layman's terms, Donaire kicked Darchinyan's ass. He looked like Darchinyan's kryptonite, and for all the talk of Vic fighting better and fighting smarter, there's nothing I saw in any of his recent wins (where he did fight smarter, to be fair) that told me that Donaire didn't still have the perfect style for Vic.
But as confident as I am that Donaire beats Vic again, it's a fight I want to see. They both deserve it. Donaire will next fight in February, when he faces Gerson Guerrero on another Pinoy Power PPV. Is that a fight anyone's really excited about? Donaire deserves a big, widely-seen fight, and Darchinyan has earned his shot at revenge. It's the biggest possible fight at 115 pounds, and it's between the division's two best. Make it happen.