By: William Holmes
Corpus Christi, Texas was host to HBO’s Boxing After Dark and featured two title fights, the WBO Junior Lightweight Championship fight between Rocky Martinez and Mikey Garcia as well as the WBO Junior Middleweight Title Fight between Demetrius Andrade and Vanes Martirosyan.
Ironically, the most popular fighter on tonight’s card, Nonito Donaire, wasn’t fighting for a title, but he was fighting an old foe in Vic Darchinyan in the featherweight division.
The first fight of the night was between Demetrius Andrade (19-0) and Vanes Martirosyan (33-0-1) for the WBO Junior Middleweight title.
Martirosyan came out with a wild punch right away in the first round and missed badly. Andrade clearly had the quicker hands and he took advantage of it. He was tagging Martirosyan with his jabs from the outside in his southpaw stance and was dominating the first round. Martirosyan, however, landed a counter straight left hand that knocked Andrade down in the first round. Andrade was able to recover well and wasn’t phased by Martirosyan.
In the second round, Andrade wobbled Martirosyan with a solid uppercut. Andrade continued to land his jab and check right hooks and was starting to dominate the bout. Andrade’s was much more active than Martirosyan and continued to outwork Martirosyan throughout most of the rest of the bout.
By the third round, Andrade’s jab was taking over and he had Martirosyan’s left eye bruised. Andrade landed three straight lefts in a row in the fifth round but also landed a punch on Martirosyan behind the head.
Martirosyan had a difficult time getting his punches through Andrade’s guard, but he had his best round of the night in the eighth round when he picked up his aggression. In the championship rounds it was clear that Martirosyan needed a knockout to win, but he seemed to run out of gas.
The final scores were 117-110 and 114-113 for Andrade and 115-112 for Martirosyan. Andrade won by split decision, but it should not have been that close.
The next bout of the night was between the “Filipino Flash” Nonito Donaire (31-2) and Vic “Raging Bull” Darchinyan (39-5-1). Darchinyan has been waiting for a rematch against Donaire for six years, and his performance inside the ring was much better than expected.
Donaire and Darchinyan were cautious early on in the first round. Donaire was warned by the referee for a low blow and Donaire looked more cautious than usual. Donaire was able to land a solid straight right hand and Darchinyan answered with two crisp left hooks.
Both fighters spent a majority of the second round doing a lot of feinting. Darchinyan was able to connect with a solid left hook near the end and Donaire answered with a two-punch combination. Donaire also connected with a two-punch combination and a solid left hand. This was probably Donaire’s best round of the night.
The third and fourth rounds were too close to call, but it was Darchinyan who was able to land the harder punches. Donaire’s confidence looked like it was shot by the fifth round and Darchinyan’s confidence was increasing as the fight went on.
Darchinyan continued to throw bombs at Donaire but he was not able to hurt him. He was, however, winning a majority of the middle rounds. Donaire’s corner was imploring him to pick up the pace in the eighth round as he was not looking as crisp as he usually looks.
Donaire landed a beautiful left hook in the ninth round that send Darchinyan face first to the mat. Darchinyan got back to his feet but Donaire came after Darchinyan and pounded on his opponent by the corner of the ring. Donaire landed two good left uppercuts on a visibly hurt Darchinyan and the referee stopped the fight.
Nonito Donaire won by TKO at 2:09 of the ninth round. He was down on the judges’ scorecards at the time of the stoppage, and it was a rare occurrence when a fighter needed a stoppage to win in the later rounds and actually got it.
The WBO Junior Lightweight Title was up for grabs between Roman “Rocky” Martinez (27-1-2) and Miguel “Mikey” Garcia (32-0) in a classic Puerto Rico vs. Mexico matchup.
Martinez came out very active and was outworking Garcia early on. Garcia was able to land some heavy jabs that visibly moved the heavy frame of Martinez. Martinez had a strong second round as he constantly threw his jab at the face of Garcia whenever he came within his range. Martinez was able to land a solid counter right hand in the second round that knocked Garcia down.
Garcia remained calm and composed and took his time getting back to his feet.
From that point, Garcia dominated the fight. His punches were getting heavier as the fight wore on and Martinez was throwing less. Garcia landed a solid three-punch combination near the end of the fifth round.
Garcia hurt Martinez in the sixth round with a hard straight right hand and Martinez motioned to Garcia to come forward. Garcia obliged by continuing to pound on Martinez.
In the seventh round, the crowd started chanting from “Mikey” and Garcia was picking up the pace and connect percentage with his power shots. He obliterated Martinez in the seventh round and was close to getting the stoppage.
Garcia finally stopped the carnage with a vicious left hook to the body of Martinez that sent him down for the count.
Mikey Garcia started slow, but he ended it in explosive fashion. Mikey Garcia remains undefeated with a knockout at 0:56 of the eighth round.