Nonito Donaire and Vic Darchinyan easily made weight for their way-after-the-fact rematch Saturday evening in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The bout takes place at the featherweight limit, marking the first time either boxer has fought at this weight. Donaire came in at 125.25 lb, while Darchinyan was slightly heavier but still under the limit at 125.75 lb.
Donaire returns to the ring follow a seven-month absence, which came on the heels of first loss in more than a decade. The reigning Fighter of the Year dropped a close but clear decision to Guillermo Rigondeaux this April, less than 48 hours after being honored by the Boxing Writers Association of America as 2012's top fighter.
An attempt to return to the win column comes in the form of a rematch with an old foe who helped catapult him to the championship picture. Donaire starched Darchinyan with a single punch in their July '07 flyweight title fight. Darchinyan was unbeaten at the time, losing his title and also suffering the lone knockdown - and stoppage loss - of his boxing life, pro or amateur.
The bout has caught the most attention among this weekend's televised tripleheader, which airs live on HBO. However, the scheduled 10-round featherweight bout serves as the evening's co-feature.
In the main event, Mikey Garcia moves up in weight to challenge reigning 130 lb. titlist Roman 'Rocky' Martinez.
Garcia weighed in at 128.75 lb for his first title fight in the super featherweight division. The bout comes five months after he was forced to concede his featherweight belt on the scales in Dallas, showing up over the limit for his eventual 4th round knockout of Juan Manuel Lopez in their June bout.
The follies at the scales resulted in Garcia never officially defending the featherweight belt he acquired earlier this year, scoring four knockdowns en route to a technical unanimous decision over Orlando Salido this past January. In an odd twist of fate, Salido managed to regain the belt one month before Garcia receives his crack at a title in a second weight class.
Martinez continues to prove that it's sometimes better to be lucky than good. The Puerto Rican boxer has seen all three of his title fights amidst his current reign go to split decision verdicts, retaining his title each time out. His reign began with a close call over Miguel Beltran Jr., which came on the undercard of Sergio Martinez' points win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. last September.
On the same night Garcia topped Salido to claim a featherweight belt, 'Rocky' was considered lucky to escape with a draw in his 12-round bout with Juan Carlos Burgos. Many felt that Burgos won with plenty of room to spare, but Martinez left the ring as champion, much as he did three months later in Macau, squeaking past previously unbeaten Diego Magdaleno.
Opening up the show, a pair of undefeated–albeit underachieving–former U.S. Olympic boxers meet, as 2008 class member Demetrius Andrade faces Vanes Martirosyan, a member of the 2004 squad.
Andrade tipped the scales at a lean and sculpted 153.75 lb., the same as Martirosyan, though the transplanted Armenian didn't boast a frame quite as camera ready.. Both are fighting for their first major title. Neither seemed to know how to act at this level, as the fighters engaged in a brief shoving match during the obligatory staredown.
vs. Vic Darchinyan,
- 10 rounds, featherweight
Roman 'Rocky' Martinez,
vs. Mikey Garcia,
- 12 rounds, for Martinez super featherweight belt
vs. Demetrius Andrade,
- 12 rounds, vacant super welterweight belt
vs. Alberto Garza,
12 rounds, for Walters' featherweight belt
vs. Jesus Lule
6 rounds, featherweight
vs. Steve Hall,
6 rounds, welterweight
Saul Rodriguez vs. Martin Gonzalez - 6 rounds, featherweight
Erick De Leon,
vs. Jesus Aguinaga,
6 rounds, lightweight
vs. Roberto Ceron,
4 rounds, bantamweight
Vic Pasillas vs. Salvador Perez - 6 rounds, super bantamweight
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox