Michael Rosenthal

Angry Darchinyan will seek KO against Perez

Vic Darchinyan is still seething over the performance of referee Robert Howard in his split-decision loss to Abner Mares in December.

The former two-division titleholder claims Howard went too far in constantly warning him about pushing and holding, thus taking him out of his game plan.

So Darchinyan is planning to take matters out of officials’ hands when he fights Yonnhy Perez in Showtime’s bantamweight tournament April 23 at Nokia Theater in Los Angeles: He plans to revert to his old, take-no-prisoners mentality.

“I’m changing my style again,” he said on a conference call Wednesday. “I’m going to knock out anyone in front of me. I’m coming to destroy him.

“… Everyone talks about at bantamweight I’m not as powerful as I was at flyweight or super flyweight. We’ll see how powerful I am at bantamweight.”

The loss to Mares was the former flyweight and junior bantamweight titleholder’s second in as many important bantamweight fights. He lost a unanimous decision in 2009 to Joseph Agbeko, who faces Mares in the tournament championship at Nokia Theater.

That obviously plays a role in Darchinyan’s frustration. However, it was more how he lost that seemed to irk him.

Howard not only chattered in his ear much of the fight, he also awarded Mares a knockdown in the seventh round for what Darchinyan said was a slip.

The point Darchinyan lost because of the knockdown cost him the fight as the result would’ve been a split draw had it not occurred.

On top of that, Darchinyan isn’t too crazy about the two judges who scored the fight for Mares. He is certain he did enough to win even with the annoying ref and the knockdown.

He saved most of his anger for Howard, though.

“I was very disappointed in the referee. He wouldn’t let me do anything,” he said.

One benefit of the bantamweight tournament is that it provides second chances.

Mares and Agbeko received an opportunity to bounce back from disappointing results before the tournament– Mares’ draw with Perez and Perez’s decision over Agbeko – and found success in their first-round matches.

Now Darchinyan (36-3-1, 27 knockouts) and Perez (20-1-1, 14 KOs) have the opportunity to come right back with a victory over an elite bantamweight, even if it’s a consolation fight.

And, again, Darchinyan says we won’t see the relatively patient boxer we saw against Mares. That approach, if he follows follow through with it, should cause some fireworks because Perez comes directly to his opponents.

Mares, who speaks with some expertise because he has fought both of them, doesn’t know what to expect.

“Yonnhy is there to be hit,” Mares said. “He comes forward; he doesn’t like to back up. Darchinyan likes that. … If Darchinyan lands the left he likes to land right on the chin, Yonnhy might go down. It might come down to Yonnhy being stronger and Darchinyan not being able to take the pressure.

“It goes both ways. I don’t have a winner there. I think it’ll just be a great fight.”

Darchinyan knows exactly who the winner is and how the fight will end.

“I’m looking for the knockout from the first round,” he said. “When will it happen? I don’t know. But it’s going to happen.”

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