by Chris Cella
This past Saturday night at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods in Connecticut, when three-division world champion Vic “Raging Bull” Darchinyan (35-8, 27 KO) stepped between the ropes of the squared circle to go to battle with undefeated super bantamweight prospect Luis Orlando Del Valle (16-1, 11 KO), two things were different from what the eight-time title holder was used to: he wasn’t the main event of the evening and he came in as an opponent.
But when the bell sounded to commence the start of the 10-round bout for the vacant NABF super bantamweight title, everything that Darchinyan had dealt with leading up to the fight—speculations that he was washed up, that he needed to retire from lacing up the gloves, that he didn’t have anything left in the tank to make another run—were put on hold as the southpaw focused solely on dealing with the opponent standing across the ring from him.
Del Valle came into the fight 11 years younger than his adversary, but when the first bell sounded, he knew he was in for a dog fight. Darchinyan came out reminiscent of the fighter who captured nearly every alphabet belt within the three divisions he fought in, and pressed Del Valle through each round.
The younger fighter did his best to stand toe-to-toe with the more experienced pugilist, but came up short in each round. Doing what he so often did throughout his early 12-year career, Darchinyan cruised to a victory by dictating the pace of the fight and landing heavy shots at will.
But more so than the clinic Darchinyan put on inside the ropes, was the perseverance he displayed and the heart of a champion he showed.
About his performance, Darchinyan later said: “I felt very strong coming into this fight and I was in great shape. I could not believe that I was the underdog… it inspired me to prove everyone wrong and dominate this fight. Now I’m calling out all champions…let’s go!”
Coming into the fight against Del Valle, Darchinyan lost two consecutive 12-round championship bouts via unanimous decision against Anselmo Moreno and Shinsuke Yamanaka, who are currently the number one and two ranked bantamweight boxers. It appeared the 36-year-old fighter had come to the end of his career, and many critics speculated that the bout against Del Valle would put him on the fast track to retirement.
Now, with the win Saturday night, Darchinyan showed that he is not only far from ready to hang up the gloves, but that he may also have another title run in him. Winning in such decisive fashion and once again propelling himself into the top 10 super bantamweight rankings, the “Raging Bull” has reignited the buzz surrounding him, which subsequently has led to his name being thrown into the mix for a potential world title fight in the near future.
Regarding his future, Darchinyan was resolute: “I’m going to campaign at super bantamweight moving forward and I believe I still have the power to keep my opponents honest,” he said.
In coming weeks, several of the top super bantamweights in the world will be put to the test, so it will be interesting to see how things shape up and see who lands the opportunity to step in with Darchinyan next.