Sunday, February 8, 2009

Armeniageddon strikes again

Super flyweight / junior bantamweight champion Vic Darchinyan refers to himself as "The Raging Bull," but I'm old-school and refuse to acknowledge recycled nicknames. There's only one Raging Bull, and that's Jake LaMotta, so I've taken it upon myself to rechristen my fellow swarthy, shrimpy Armenian pal Vic as "Armeniageddon" -- catchy, no? Also very fitting, because Darchinyan has cut a swath of pain and brutal destruction throughout boxing's lower weight divisions, knocking contenders and pretenders out with his unorthodox, lunging punches and, even more notably, with his vicious but hilarious pre-fight salvoes. Last night's victim was rugged and much-ballyhooed Mexican champion / tough guy / sideshow freak Jorge "Travieso" Arce, a huge celebrity in Mexico who considers himself a character and usually rides to the ring in a horse, wears a cowboy hat, and sucks on a lollipop until the opening bell. No, I didn't make any of that up. Mexican fighters have always struck me as no-nonsense, old-school tough guys, but the ones named Jorge (Páez, and now Arce) appear to have some predisposition towards buffoonery and some sort of latent homosexuality... but I guess Arce's fans eat that stupid garbage up.

No such gimmicks for the Australian-based Armeniageddon, whose entire shtick appears to be based on the "Sure, I'll be the bad guy -- you'll hate me even more after I kick your idol's ass all over the ring while smirking the whole time" routine taken to extreme levels. There isn't a better trash-talker in all of sports than this short, smirking, manic Armenian with the almost incomprehensible accent but articulate flair. No "come on gorilla, we in Manila" Poetry for 'Tards 101 in Vic's arsenal. Witness these jewels, which got progressively better / nastier as the fight date approached:

When the fight was finally announced, after Armeniageddon had reportedly been chasing Arce for a fight for 3+ years: "On February 7th you won't be able to hide behind a phone or your manager's skirt, it will only be you and me. It's taken three years for you to have the balls to face me, maybe your manager wants one last payday from you. Enjoy your last fight!" Manager's skirt! Vic even got in a free shot at the manager. Just classic.

When told that Arce wanted to avenge his countryman Mijares' defeat at the hands of Darchinyan: "I can't get enough of Mexican fighters. They bounce real good off the canvas when I hit them. Let's see, I've stopped Mijares, Victor Burgos and Luis Maldonado over the past two years. Unlike Arce, those three fighters were very tough hombres. Defeating Arce won't take much training. It won't even be a fight for me. More like pest control."

After Arce made a comment about wanting Vic to go toe-to-toe with him: "If Arce thinks he has a snowball's chance in hell of beating me, then he's a bigger sucker than those lollipops he chews on. Arce shouldn't be worrying about me running for the hills. He should worry about me running him out of boxing."

Once the venue for the fight was set: "If I were Arce's team, I'd MapQuest the quickest routes from the Honda Center to John Wayne Airport so he can get out of town fast. Unlike Mosley I am not waiting until the ninth round for the knockout. I am going to stop Farce quickly so he can take his black eyes on the red-eye out that same night. Whether Mexico allows him back in, well that is another issue." Black eyes on the red-eye AND a pun based on the guy's last name? Admit it, you're laughing right now. Hell, even Arce's parents would probably laugh, if they spoke English...

This next one's probably my fave; it's almost Ionescan (is that a word?) in its mean-spirited absurdity: "I'm going to swat that Spanish Fly. How do you take a guy like Arce seriously? He sucks on lollipops and wears a cowboy hat from a toy store. He looks like "Woody" from the movie "Toy Story." I can picture him running around his house on a broom pretending he's riding a horse. He's a regular Schlepalong Cassidy. When I finally meet him at the press conference do I say "Hola Jorge" or "Howdy, Doody?" Arce is going to be my human piñata. Our fight will be like a Chihuahua against a bull... a raging bull!"

After Arce was a no-show at the pre-fight press conference: "I was looking forward to facing him last Saturday at our press conference in Los Angeles, but he did not show. As my promoter Gary Shaw said, they decided to serve 'Chicken a la Arce' two weeks early. What a shock. Mexicans are great fighters. Arce is a disgrace to all of them. He is a clown. He should change his ring name from 'Travieso' to 'Travesty' because that's what he is. I promise that I will demolish him just like I demolished Mijares. I will let him be a coward for the first two rounds where he can run around the ring. He can even wear his stupid cowboy hat. But after that, I am going to be on him like a mongoose on a cobra. He does not stand a chance. Interim Champion is the perfect description of his so-called title reign."

And a last one right before the weigh-in: "It's the 'Year of the Ox,' how appropriate that I'm fighting Jorge Arce, who is as dumb as one. I'm going to blow him away like a Santa Ana wind. On Feb. 7, I'm going to teach Arce just how interim his title really is. What's black and blue and red all over? Jorge Arce by Round 3 --assuming he lasts that long." OK, I lied. THIS one is my fave. Year of the Ox? Santa Ana wind? A rhetorical riddle? Vic's comments are transcendental comedy.

Luckily for all involved, or, at least, for yours truly, Armeniageddon absolutely crushed Arce, battering him around the ring for 11 brutally one-sided rounds before the doctors mercifully stopped the fight. Poor Arce wasn't black and blue, as Vic predicted, but he was red all over. I think he was even bleeding from both ears, and although I'm all for rewarding game fighters and allowing them to finish fights on their feet, I'm glad the ring doctor, ref, and even Arce's corner agreed to call the bout to a halt. Vic really came through on his "human piñata" prediction, and Arce had to be taken to the hospital immediately following the fight. Thankfully, he's OK. As for Armeniageddon, well, he was very "gracious" in congratulating Arce for almost going the distance with him. At least, I think he was gracious... it was tough to tell, what with his hyper zeal, crazy Armenio-Australian accent, and repeated exhortations that "I said I would destroy him, and I always keeping my promise" lunacy. I can't wait for his next fight, but even more so, I REALLY can't wait for his next press conference.

No comments: