BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (July 8, 2007) – Forget the date. Forget the odds. There was nothing “lucky” about what transpired Saturday on SHOWTIME. Nor was there anything “fluky.’’
New world champions Joachim “Tia-Joa’’ Alcine (World Boxing Association super welterweight) and Nonito “The Filipino Flash’’ Donaire (International Boxing Federation/International Boxing Organization flyweight) did exactly what they had to do to dispose of previously undefeated defending titlists “Tremendous” Travis Simms and Vic “The Raging Bull’’ Darchinyan, respectively, in the co-main events on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.
Alcine, a 3-1 underdog, turned what was supposed to be a homecoming into a travesty for Simms, earning a unanimous 12-round decision in a tactical bout by the scores of 116-109, 115-110 and 114-111. With the victory, Alcine became the first boxer of Haitian descent to become a world champion.
Donaire, an even longer shot to win than Alcine, knocked out 7-1 favorite Darchinyan with a left hook at 1:38 of the fifth round. The triumph evened the score with the Donaire’s and Darchinyan, who scored a technical decision over Nonito’s brother, Glenn, in October 2006 on SHOWTIME.
The crowd-pleasing twinbill at Arena at Harbor Yard was promoted by Don King Productions with Darchinyan-Donaire being promoted in association with Gary Shaw Productions, LLC. It aired on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
Alcine (29-0, 18 KOs), who entered the ring as the WBA’s No. 1-ranked 154-pound contender, got credit for a knockdown in the ninth when Simms slipped and touched the canvas with a glove after getting clipped with a left hand.
Both fighters were penalized for hitting on the break. Alcine lost a point in the sixth while Simms (25-1, 19 KOs) got deducted a point two rounds later.
“For me to make history and be the first boxer from Haiti to win a world championship belt is like the guy who invented the light. I will always be remembered,” said Alcine, who has lived in Montreal for several years. “As happy as I am, though, I feel I could have done better.
“I didn’t even tell my coach, but I caught some sort of virus a few days ago and have been experiencing stomach pains. I wasn’t as strong as I could have been. But I had enough strength to win.’’
Simms, of nearby Norwalk, Conn., was headlining the first fight card in the history of Fairfield County. While disappointed with the decision, he handled the loss with class.
“He fought a good fight and won fair and square,” said Simms, who was making the initial title defense in his second stint as WBA 154-pound kingpin. “I still feel like a champion but it just wasn’t my night. I don’t make excuses but I hurt my left hand in the early rounds and couldn’t land.
“That wasn’t a knockdown, however. The ring was covered with sweat and water. You need to use better judgment on whether it was a slip that caused me to go down, or if it was from a punch.’’
There was no doubt about the picturesque punch that dropped Darchinyan. “I caught him walking in perfect with a counter shot,” said Donaire (18-1, 11 KOs). “One of my strategies was to throw back after each time he landed a punch. I think that got him thinking.’’
Donaire, of San Leandro, Calif., by way of General Santos, Philippines, had been fighting at 115 pounds so he was the naturally bigger and, it turns out, stronger fighter. After four completed rounds, Donaire was leading 40-36 on one of the scorecards. The other two cards had the match even at 38-apiece.
“This is a tremendous victory for not only me but for my family and my people in the Philippines,’’ said Donaire after his 17th consecutive victory. “I could feel their energy with me the whole fight. I felt great in there tonight.’’
Darchinyan (29-1, 22 KOs), an Armenian-based Australian, was making the seventh defense of his IBF crown and sixth defense of his IBO belt.
“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.
“If I made one mistake, it was I was loading up too much. But I fight the way I fight.’’
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