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BILL DWYRE

Vic Darchinyan backs up talk with convincing victory

As promised, he beats up on Jorge Arce.

February 08, 2009|BILL DWYRE

Vic Darchinyan, a boxer who threw as many insults before the fight as he did lethal punches during it Saturday night, saved the final insult for last.

After months of calling his super-flyweight opponent slow and dumb and a fraud, as well as sparring with a female and declaring her a better puncher, Darchinyan completed things by beating up the guy.

The mouth that roared finished popular Mexican Jorge Arce, much like he said he would, in their 115-pound boxing title match at the Honda Center. It ended with Darchinyan, the Armenian who lives in Australia, way ahead on all cards and Arce sitting in his corner, bleeding badly from both eyes but set to give it one more round.

Then ringside doctor Paul Wallace took a long look at the cuts around Arce's eyes and waved the end to the proceedings.

Good call by the good doctor. A final round would have been like an extra episode of "M*A*S*H*." More blood for entertainment purposes only.

Even the highly partisan Mexican crowd, increasingly quiet as the battle went on, knew that enough was enough. Of the 5,450 who showed up in person for the fight that was televised on a delayed basis on Showtime, about 5,000 made enough pre-fight noise to make it clear that Mexico is a lot close to Anaheim than Armenia or Australia.

They booed every sighting of Darchinyan and booed him all the way down the aisle of his entrance.

Then he quickly shut them up with a wild-swinging start that left Arce battered and cut early and became merely a prelude to more of the same.

When the TKO was called after the 11th, each of the three judges had Darchinyan ahead, 10 rounds to one.

Darchinyan, 33, who retained his three titles in three divisions and increased his record to 32-1-1 with his 26th knockout, is fast becoming an attraction, even though he weighs about the same as Andrew Bynum's injured leg and is fighting in a division that is not traditionally of much marquee value.

Part of that is his pre-fight act, which crosses the line, even for boxing. Among the quotes Darchinyan dished out in some of the pre-fight hype sessions was the classic: "Mexico has a lot of great fighters, but he's not one of them."

And, on this night, the veteran Arce, now 51-5-1 and only 29 years old, was clearly not.

He had countered Darchinyan's blabber with his own attempts.

"Darchinyan's greatest strength is his mouth," Arce said, among other things.

Nope. That was maybe a strong second. His greatest strength was a left hand that should be outlawed. Other fighters use their lead hand to jab. Darchinyan uses his more like a gun sight.

To Arce's credit, he remained on his feet to the end, something that didn't look likely in the early going. His toughness even impressed Darchinyan, who predictably toned down the rhetoric a bit after it was over.

"He surprised me," Darchinyan said. "I didn't expect him to fight like he did. He proved he was tough and a good fighter. I hit him with good shots and he fought back.

"I would have liked to knock him out, but it's OK the way it ended."

After it was over, Arce indicated that he was either more game than any human should be or all those head shots had done some damage.

"I realize he was a strong fighter," he said, "but the cut was from his elbow. I don't know why they stopped it going into the last round. A fighter always has a chance to win."

Realistically, Arce had none.

Later, after some time to think, Arce got it right.

"He's a great fighter," he said.

The sky seems to be the limit now for Darchinyan, both with his mouth and with his fists. He has even chattered about taking on Manny Pacquiao, the sport's current leading attraction. Pacquiao weighed 32 pounds more than Darchinyan's 115 when he destroyed boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya in December.

One thing is certain for the boxer whose nickname is, fittingly, the "Raging Bull."

With Vic Darchinyan, talk is never cheap.

--

bill.dwyre@latimes.com.

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