Darchinyan stops Arce in 11th round

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Vic Darchinyan predicted he eventually would put Jorge Arce away. It just went a little differently than he thought it would.

Undisputed super flyweight champion Darchinyan punished Arce with powerful lefts from the opening bell on his way to an 11th-round knockout Saturday night.

Darchinyan said before the title fight he didn't expect to put Arce away early, but that he would suddenly connect with a big left and that would end it.

That wasn't exactly how it played out, with Darchinyan constantly landing solid punches but Arce not only refusing to go down, but wading in and trying to land blows of his own. He usually didn't, but the champion was impressed.

"He surprised me. I didn't expect him to fight like he did," said Darchinyan, who lost only one round on each of the three judges' cards. "He proved to me that he was tough and a good fighter. I hit him with some good shots and he kept fighting back."

Darchinyan retained his WBA, WBC and IBF belts.

Arce's face was covered with blood and his knees were buckling as he took shots on the ropes in the closing seconds of the 11th round. The ring physician examined a gash near the fighter's right eye and determined he should not come out for the 12th.

"I don't know why the doctor stopped it," Arce said through a translator. "Going into the last round, a fighter always has a chance to win."

Darchinyan more likely would have finished him if he had answered the bell for the 12th.

"I would have liked to have knocked him out cold," Darchinyan said. "If the fight goes on, maybe I knock him out. But it's OK the way it ended."

Darchinyan (32-1-1, 26 knockouts) began jolting Arce with both hooks and straight punches with his left hand in the first round, and continued hitting him squarely in the face the rest of the fight, mixing in a few straight rights that also found their target.

Although he was absorbing a stream of blows, Arce (51-5-1) was the aggressor most of the fight. But Darchinyan usually blocked his punches, then countered.

A native of Armenia who lives in Sydney, Darchinyan rocked his foe from Los Mochis, Mexico, several times.

Two judges had Arce winning only the third round, the other had him winning the fourth.

In a lightweight prelim, Antonio DeMarco of Tijuana, Mexico, stopped Almazbek Raiymkulov of Las Vegas. DeMarco (21-1-1, 15 KOs) was battering a bloodied and defenseless Raiymkulov (27-2-1, 15) on the ropes at the bell ending the ninth round, and Raiymkulov's corner said he could not continue.