Team Darchinyan: If No Mares or Donaire, Then 122

By Keith Idec 

Vic Darchinyan wants to settle unfinished business with two fighters at 118 pounds.If the powerful southpaw from Armenia can’t land rematches against Nonito Donaire or Abner Mares, however, he’ll probably leave the bantamweight division, perhaps as soon as after his next fight.“We’d love to fight Donaire, obviously,” said Gary Shaw, Darchinyan’s promoter. “If we can’t get Donaire, we would like to get a rematch with Abner Mares. If not, we’ll move on to 122.”The 35-year-old Darchinyan (36-3-1, 27 KOs) is scheduled to oppose South Africa’s Evans Mbamba in a 12-round bantamweight bout Sept. 3 in Yerevan, Armenia. The former flyweight and super flyweight champion is a heavy favorite against Mbama (18-1, 9 KOs), a southpaw who was dropped twice in his lone loss to Mexico’s Tomas Rojas (36-12-1, 24 KOs) in October 2009.Darchinyan knocked out Rojas in the second round seven weeks after Rojas beat Mbama. He had much more difficult fights against Mares (22-0-1, 13 KOs) and Donaire (26-1, 18 KOs), and knows he has plenty to prove against both boxers.Mares overcame a second-round knockdown and another point deduction during the fourth round to defeat Darchinyan by split decision in a 12-round fight, which was part of Showtime’s bantamweight tournament eight months ago in Tacoma, Wash. It’ll be tough for Darchinyan to meet Mares anytime soon, though, because the IBF mandated an immediate Mares-Joseph Agbeko rematch Tuesday due to the controversial officiating of referee Russell Mora in their IBF bantamweight title fight Saturday night in Las Vegas.Donaire might not be any easier to get in the ring again.Their previous rematch negotiations fell apart in May 2010 because Darchinyan abruptly withdrew after deciding it was taking too long to complete the deal. He said then that he would no longer pursue a rematch with Donaire, but Darchinyan still badly wants the opportunity to avenge the only knockout defeat of his 10-year pro career.Donaire is scheduled to return to action Oct. 22 in an HBO main event, but an opponent for the WBC/WBO bantamweight champ hasn’t been solidified.Donaire scored a career-changing, fifth-round technical knockout against Darchinyan in their IBF flyweight championship match four years ago in Bridgeport, Conn.Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and Nonito Donaire , Vic Darchinyan , Abner Mares