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Knockout Nation: Jones Jr-Calzaghe This Saturday! Hopkins Wants Winner, Darchinyan Destroys Mijares! Wilfred Benitez

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Darchinyan Dominates Mijares

The

first super flyweight, unification bout in history was supposed to be

Cristian Mijares’ coming out party. This was the fight where he finally

got a chance to showcase his reputed top 10, pound for pound skills on

a national stage.

Instead,

the normally wild Vic Darchinyan fought a disciplined, perfect fight

and pounded Mijares over 9 mostly one-sided rounds before a merciful

TKO stoppage.

The

raucous, mostly Mexican crowd at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA

gave Mijares a grand reception as he made his way to the ring. At the

stare down he retained a cocky smirk, perhaps feeling Darchinyan had no

boxing skills to contend with his superb counter-punching.

Mijares’

smile was wiped off within the first 30 seconds, as Darchinyan

repeatedly beat him to the punch with lead straight and overhand lefts.

The clean shots were heavily due to Darchinyan not rushing in and

utilizing a sharp jab.

Mijares

also showed early sluggishness, leaning forward with his punches which

resulted in Darchinyan dropping him hard with a perfect counter

uppercut. Showing his usual cockiness, Darchinyan goaded him to get up

just as the bell saved the WBA/WBC champ for an early knockout.

In

round 2 Mijares still struggled to establish any offense, realizing

that Darchinyan’s hand-speed and jab had taken away his chances to

counterpunch. After eating a series of thudding overhand lefts, Mijares

attempted to make it brawl, and fared better catching Vic with two nice

counter hooks to the temple. However, the light-punching Mijares could

gain no respect and Darchinyan fired right back to close an exciting

round.

Mijares

started to get more comfortable in rounds three and four, finally

showing decent glove blocking and lateral movement away from

Darchinyan’s powerful left hand. Unfortunately, these defensive

adjustments didn’t translate into good offense, and Darchinyan

continued to dominate the exchanges, now adding in wincing, round-house

left hooks to the body.

It

wasn’t until round 5 where Mijares finally landed a head combination,

punctuated by a hard hook. Darchinyan responded in kind as Mijares

waved him in. Despite his machismo for fans, Mijares was falling

further and further behind on the scorecards.

Darchinyan

continued his work in round six, blistering Mijares with punishing

combinations, most ending with his powerful left hand. Mijares, touted

as the one of the most technically skilled fighters at the lower

weights, could do nothing but continue waving Vic in, hoping he’d make

a mistake.

Round

7 saw Mijares finally gather some sustained offense, clipping

Darchinyan with a sneaky uppercut and a counter hook as the IBF champ

briefly went back to his old ways of lunging in. However, Darchinyan

kept Mijares honest by ripping him with another left uppercut as the

round ended.

By

round nine, Mijares had no choice but to continue coming forward in

hopes of scoring a KO. But it was Darchinyan who would succeed, driving

Mijares back with a hard jab before nearly knocking him through the

ropes with a laser-sharp straight left.

Mijares

spun on the canvas, and his fans watched in shocked dismay as the

referee waved the fight off with just a few seconds remaining in the

round.

With the win, Vic Darchinyan now becomes the first man in history to unify the Super Flyweight division.

Remembering

the writers who picked against him, Darchinyan made it a point in the

post-fight interview to ask about his new pound for pound standing.

“All

writers, did I keep my promise [to knock out Mijares]?” Darchinyan

quipped. “Where am I now pound for pound? I knocked him out!”

Indeed,

many writers will now have to consider Vic’s placement now that he’s

moved up from flyweight to super flyweight and unified the division in

just two fights. In addition, those two unification bouts came courtesy

of devastating highlight-reel knockouts.

What

made this fight so impressive was the way Darchinyan, thought of as

just an awkward brawler, outboxed Mijares thoroughly in every round.

Vic’s speed and stinging jab left Mijares confused, and a fish out of

water when he abandoned his normal counter-punching style to press the

action.

But,

the most significant change to Vic’s style last night was he rarely

lunged in with wild hooks. This flaw left him KTFO last year against

Donaire, but tonight whenever Darchinyan did rush in, it was preceded

by a hard jab followed by a straight shot. This drastically lowered his

chances of eating anything big in return.

Darchinyan

should at minimum be in everyone’s top 15, but many will be reluctant

to place him higher until he rematches Nontio Donaire, the man who

knocked him cold last year and briefly derailed his career.

If that fight cannot be made, look for Darchinyan to seek out Fernando Monteil or Jorge Arce (who scored a 4th roundKO this weekend over Isidro Garcia).

Whomever he fights, the lighter weights just got a little more exciting with Vic Darchinyan back on top.Roy Jones Confirms Hopkins Main Option After Calzaghe

Roy

Jones, Jr. is already looking past his November 8 fight with undefeated

light-heavyweight champ Joe Calzaghe, verifying that he’s open to

facing bitter rival Bernard Hopkins.

The

change of heart comes seven years after a highly-anticipated rematch

fell through when both men stubbornly refused to compromise on their

contract negotiations.

“People want to see me and Bernard do it again after I beat Joe,” Jones wrote in a column for ESPN.com.

“I beat Bernard 15 years ago and I will do it again if we fight. I’d

like that fight and if it makes sense and we come up with a good deal,

for sure I will do it. People want to see if Bernard can get revenge…

But first I need to take off Joe, which I will do.”

Calzaghe Dimisses Hopkins, Executioner Rules Out Dawson, Promises “Hell” for Jones-Calzaghe Winner

In the wake of Hopkins’ stunning win over Kelly Pavlik, Joe Calzaghe rebuffed rumblings of a rematch with the Executioner.

Since winning a split decision in an ugly April bout, Calzaghe has not had a kind word to say about his last dance partner.

“Screw Hopkins, I’m not fighting again for any amount of money, I’ve been doing this for too long,” he spat to WalesOnline.co.uk.

“Hopkins beating Pavlik in the style he did gives my victory over

Hopkins more credibility. When I beat Hopkins, people say he was just a

washed up old man, a shadow of the fighter of years gone by. But he

just annihilated the so-called next big thing in boxing in a fight he

called the fight of his life.”

Dismissing

these words and young lion Chad Dawson, Bernard Hopkins made a promise

that the winner of Jones-Calzaghe will have no option but to face him.

“Scratch

Chad Dawson off, I’ve got bigger fish to fry,” Hopkins countered. “I

listened to everything and I heard what Joe said the other day, that I

won’t get a rematch. Joe knows in his heart the judges beat Bernard

Hopkins. I’ll be ringside on November 8 and all hell is going to break

out in the media and with the fans. I set the bar so high. With Joe

Calzaghe, I won’t worry about a decision this time. I will knock him

out. But my next fight will be no later than February, no earlier than

March.”

Hopkins’

words show that he leans towards Calzaghe picking up the win. We’ll see

if Roy can turn back the clock as Hopkins-Jones II is far more

appealing and likely to happen than a Calzaghe rewind.

Jones-Calzaghe, Who Wins?

Conventional

wisdom has Jones as the big underdog in this bout. After 3 consecutive

losses, Jones, Jr. launched a low-key comeback in 2006 which culminated

with an easy decision win over an undersized Felix Trinidad.

On

the other hand, 2006 marked the year of Calzaghe’s official recognition

as a top pound for pound fighter. He effectively ruined Jeff Lacy’s

career with one of the most dominating performances ever seen in a

superfight. Later, he beat another undefeated young lion in Mikkel

Kessler before gutting out a rough win against Bernard Hopkins in April.

Jones

has not scored a knockout in six years, so to win he’d have to outbox

Calzaghe. And with Jones now relying on his shell defense to mask his

decreased stamina, it’s highly unlikely he’ll be able to score enough

to override the massive amount of punches Calzaghe will throw.

Plus, Calzaghe will look much better facing a more stationary Jones as opposed to the crafty, always moving Bernard Hopkins.

Still, Jones has shown flashes of his once renowned hand-speed, and possibly might be able to turn back the clock for one fight.

Smart

money should be on a Calzaghe decision or possible stoppage. Whatever

the outcome, it’ll be an entertaining bout where both guys deliver the

showmanship boxing is missing these days.

Poll AnswersThrowback Fighter of the Week: Wilfred Benitez

Coming from a celebrated boxing family, Wilfred Benitez amazingly turned pro in 1973 as the young age of 14!

His

exceptional defense and aggressive counter-punching lead him to a title

shot in 1976 against legend Antonio Cervantes, and Benitez outpointed

the WBA, 140 pound champ to became the youngest person ever to win a

title at age 17.

Benitez

made 3 successful defenses but was lured to the big money that awaited

him at welterweight. In 1979, Benitez narrowly outpointed Carlos

Palomino before facing Sugar Ray Leonard to end the year.

Benitez

fought a highly technical contest and gave Leonard his toughest fight

up to that point. But Leonard’s greater physical strength and edge in

speed proved decisive, and Leonard handed Wilfred his first loss via a

15th round TKO.

Although undersized, Benitez continued to move up in weight to secure big money fights. He won the WBC 154 pound strap with a 12th round TKO over Maurice Hope, and outpointed Roberto Duran in his second defense.

In

1982, Benitez ran into his worst nightmare in Tommy Hearns.  Too small

to get inside, Benitez was forced to stay on the outside and eat

repeated jabs and occasional rights in route to a decision loss.

That

fight would be Benitez’s last title shot, and his career spiraled down

after losses to Mustafa Hamsho and Davey Moore in 1983 and 1984.

A 1990 comeback under Emanuel Steward proved no better, and Benitez retired for good in September of that year.

Back

in his native Puerto Rico, Benitez suffers from a degenerative brain

condition from his years of boxing and diabetes. He lives on a $200 a

month stipend from the WBA.

Wilfred Benitez was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996, and boasts on a final record of 53-8-1, 31 KOs.vs. Cervantesvs. Palomino

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