Bantamweight Boxing Tournament Kicks Off With Controversy

| by Ian Palmer

The two-stage bantamweight boxing tournament kicked off on Dec. 11 with a couple of pretty good fights, but controversy is brewing with Vic Darchinyan (35-3-1, 27 Kos)of Armenia planning to protest his split decision loss against Mexico’s Abner Mares (20-0-1, 13 Kos) at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington.

The unbeaten Mares won the entertaining bout that was admittedly hard to score by 113-112, 115-11, and 111-115. He suffered a flash knockdown in the second round and was deducted a point in the fourth for low blows. But he earned a 10-8 round in the seventh when he momentarily dropped Darchinyan. Mares was covered in blood in several of the rounds from a bad cut near his hairline which was caused by an accidental butt in the first round.  

Gary Shaw, who promotes Darchinyan, said he wasn’t happy with judge Tom McDonough because he scored the fight, which was for the IBO and vacant WBC Silver Championships, 115-111 for Mares and gave him the last seven rounds. Shaw wants his lawyers to lodge a protest with the Association of Boxing Commissioners, the WBC and IBO and the State of Washington. But he said he doesn’t expect anything to come of it, even though a reversal of the decision or a no-contest ruling is a slim possibility.

Shaw’s right though when he said he doesn’t think anything will be done and that’s because nothing should be done. The fight was close from the get go with each boxer being knocked down once. Many of the rounds were close with nobody dominating them and neither man was hurt during the fight, including the knockdowns. I’ve seen a lot of controversial decisions over the years, but this wasn’t really one of them. It could have gone either way or been called a draw.

Mares will now fight 30-year-old Joseph Agbeko (28-2, 22 Kos) of Ghana, who handed IBF world champion Jhonny Perez (20-1-1, 14 Kos) his first pro loss in the other semi-final fight. It was a rematch of their 2009 brawl in which Perez took the title from Agbeko, but this one was a little disappointing to fans who were hoping for another slugfest.  Agbeko controlled the pace with his precise punching and the 31-year-old Perez only let his hand go during a couple of rounds, which were fifth and sixth. The scores were 116-112, 117-111, and 115-113 all for Agbeko.

Darchinyan will now be taking on his stable mate Perez in the consolation bout of the two-stage elimination tournament that’s being aired by Showtime. Shaw promotes Perez as well as Darchinyan and admitted Perez didn’t fight very well against Agbeko.  He added if he doesn’t improve against Darchinyan there’s no way he’ll beat him.

Darchinyan, who is a former super flyweight champion, has now lost two of his three fights in the bantamweight division. He also lost to Agbeko, and the 34-year-old’s punching power has been greatly diminished at the heavier weight. But Shaw said there’s no money in the lower division so Darchinyan plans on staying at bantamweight.

The final looks to be a good matchup with the younger Mares taking on the more experienced Agbeko for the IBF crown. No solid date has been set for the fight yet. But when it is, you’ll be able to wager on it at and