With an opportunity to add to his already distinguished boxing legacy, Vic “Raging Bull” Darchinyan took to the squared circle Saturday in Macau, China.
Looking to become a world champion in the fourth weight division of his career, Darchinyan was instead chopped down by Nicolas “The Axe Man” Walters via knockout at 2:22 of the fifth round of their World Boxing Assn. featherweight world championship bout at Top Rank Boxing’s “Featherweight Fury” card.
Walters (24-0, 20 knockouts) used his sizable reach advantage, footwork and counter-punching power to remain undefeated, retain his WBA title and knock down Darchinyan (39-7-1, 28 KOs) three times en route to knocking Darchinyan out for the second time in as many fights.
Darchinyan, whose four-man corner included Glendale Fighting Club’s Edmond Tarverdyan and George Bastrmajyan, was knocked out against rival Nonito Donaire in November.
Darchinyan has now lost four of his last six bouts. Consequently, Donaire won the WBA undisputed world featherweight title over Simpiwe Vetyeka via four-round technical decision in the “Featherweight Fury” main event.
Darchinyan, announced from Glendale before his surname was mispronounced by guest ring announcer Robin Leach, was giving up a near nine-inch reach disadvantage and, at 38, was 10 years the senior of Walters, who won his fourth in a row via knockout.
Fighting in the 125-pound featherweight class, Darchinyan was vying for a title in his heaviest class yet after garnering championships in the flyweight, super flyweight and bantamweight divisions.
The opening round began slowly with both fighters feeling each other out with pawing jabs, but Darchinyan began putting combinations together, dancing inside Walters’ sizable reach and quickly bouncing out.
Based on aggression with his jab and a trailing straight left, Darchinyan looked to have taken the opening round, 10-9, as the two came together at the 10-second bell to offer the most action of the stanza, though the commentators on the Top Rank stream did not give Darchinyan a single round.
Walters looked more aggressive at the onset of the second round, but Darchinyan landed well with a counter right and Walters was back to the outside.
Darchinyan became more aggressive and animated, dancing and feinting, but just as he landed lightly with a straight left, Walters landed a beautiful right uppercut that put Darchinyan on his butt.
Darchinyan jumped right back up, smiled and took the mandatory standing eight count, seemingly unfazed. Darchinyan came forward for the remaining seconds of the round, but it was a 10-8 stanza for Walters.
In the third, Darchinyan became noticeably more aggressive, wading forward with lunging left straights and right jabs, though less of the latter than in the first two rounds.
Darchinyan began throwing wider punches, more hooks and likely took the round, which featured more action between the two, but few solid connections. Still, Darchinyan was the aggressor, with Walters looking to counter.
Walters continued to establish his range in the fourth, as Darchinyan’s difficulties getting inside and dealing with Walters’ reach continued, often leading to the Armenian having his feet tangled up and stepped on.
Walters, from Jamaica, was the more accurate puncher and dictated the action.
From the opening of the fifth, Darchinyan began lunging in with left-right combos before Walters started working behind his jab again. Walters found success with single shots and two-punch combos before Darchinyan caught Walters with a straight left.
Darchinyan followed the success of that strike by charging in with a lead left, but Walters expertly slipped to his right and caught the charging Darchinyan with a great left hook that stunned Darchinyan badly.
Darchinyan struggled to find his legs as he went backward to the ropes with Walters landing a big left hook to the body in front of a sweeping right cross that sent Darchinyan briefly to the canvas.
Ever the warrior, Darchinyan bounded back up and took another standing-eight. Walters came in and landed another left hook, followed by a flurry that staggered Darchinyan before delivering a devastating short, left hook that put Darchinyan flat on his back to end the fight.
Follow Grant Gordon on Twitter: @TCNGrantGordon.