By Luis Escobar
Seven to one underdog Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire dropped and stopped the previously undefeated IBF flyweight champion Vic "The Raging Bull" Darchinyan to score a stunning and memorable fifth round knockout.
Donaire, the younger brother of Glenn Donaire, who lost to Darchinyan in October 2006 when he suffered a broken jaw was ringside was ringside to celebrate his baby brother's win and square the books with the Australian from Armenia.
Donaire connected with a classic counter left hook to the jaw that sent Darchinyan crashing to the canvas. The bloody champion managed to rise for a moment at the count of seven but his legs quickly gave way and he careened across the ring before collapsing into the ropes out on his feet.
Referee Eddie Claudio quickly waved off the count at 38-seconds of the fifth round and awarded the younger, bigger and taller of the Donaire brothers the IBF championship, after he came down in weight from 115 pounds. The historic victory set off a wild celebration in Filipino communities throughout California and in Manila and the Donaire hometown of General Santos City in the province of South Cotabato.
"I caught him walking in perfect with a counter shot," Donaire explained after the win. "One of my strategies was to throw back after each time he landed a punch. I think that got him thinking. This is a tremendous victory for not only me but for my family and my people in the Philippines. I could feel their energy with me the whole fight. I felt great in there tonight."
With blood pouring from his nose and mouth and still obvious shaken, Darchinyan had to hold onto the ropes to stay upright but medical personnel and doctors quickly entered the ring and forced the former champion to lay back down on the canvas. It would take a number of minutes before Darchinyan was allowed to rise and even then he still seemed shaken.
"I am OK, but I am very disappointed," he said. "I got caught with a great shot. What can I say? Things happen like this in boxing. I definitely want a rematch as soon as possible," Darchinyan quietly explained after the knockout loss. "If I made one mistake, it was I was loading up too much. But I fight the way I fight."
Both men scored early and often, as the 31-year-old southpaw Darchinyan (28-1, 22 KO's) was suddenly faced with dealing with the younger and stronger challenger Donaire (18-1, 11 KO's) that had just as much if not more power than the somewhat reckless champion.
In the first round, Donaire (112) landed with a clean right hand to the face after the champion dropped both of his gloves almost defying the challenger to hit him. Later in the 1st, Donaire, San Leandro, California via General Santos City, Philippines clocked Darchinyan, 5'5", with a wicked counter left hook square on the button.
In the 3rd, the two little big men continued to unload on each other and Darchinyan, Sydney, NSW, Australia via Vanadzor, Armenia suffered a cut on the outside corner of his right eye courtesy of the Filipino's accuracy. Nevertheless, Darchinyan rocked the elusive Donaire, 5'6", with a straight left cross that caught the challenger flush on the chin. However, Donaire armed with great resolve returned to harpoon the champion with wicked counter left hooks to the head and later in the round he staggered Darchinyan with a scalding left high on the jaw.
In the 4th, Donaire returned to jolting the champion with powerful shots and there seemed to be noticeable cracks in what was once Darchinyan's invincible armor. The champion was off balance a number of times and Donaire was able to time his assaults and with classic timing to pull the trigger and rock the world's best 112-pounder. Along with sharp counter punches, the challenger was also able to land a number of body shots and by the end of the round Darchinyan's overwhelming confidence was beginning to ebb.
--It's All Over--
The punch landed with an audible thud and Darchinyan crashed to the floor; landing flat on his back with his arms outstretched. Remarkably, Darchinyan began to roll over on his right side and he started to rise at five only to pitch face forward to the deck again before somehow getting back on his feet at the count of seven. Darchinyan immediately fell forward after he managed to get his legs under himself, as he staggered straight forward before falling hopelessly into the ropes.
The champion's trainer Billy Hussein, who replaced Jeff Fenech was the first man to come to the aid of the wounded fighter, as blood poured from Darchinyan's nose and mouth while he gazed out at the center of the ring with a stunned expression.
The classic underdog had upset the heavily favored champion. Within moments across the USA where Filipinos had gathered to cheer on their countryman and across the Pacific in the Philippines; boxing fans were celebrating Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire's remarkable and memorable knockout over Vic Darchinyan. The night belonged younger brothers everywhere.