Darchinyan, Arce to take bad blood into ring in February

For more than a year, one of the most talked-about potential fights in boxing has been a showdown between brash brawlers Vic Darchinyan and Jorge Arce.

It took 'em a while to come around, but now the fight is a done deal, organizers told ESPN.com. Arce promoter Top Rank finalized the remaining details with Showtime on Tuesday.

Darchinyan will defend his unified junior bantamweight titles against Arce at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., on Feb. 7 in the season premiere of "Showtime Championship Boxing."

"I think it's a spectacular fight," Darchinyan promoter Gary Shaw said. "The press conferences may be as good as the fight. I can't wait for both the press conferences and the fight."

Darchinyan, an Armenian living in Australia, and Mexico's Arce had been building toward a match last year as they trash-talked each other and stoked fan interest.

However, bad blood between Top Rank and Shaw, combined with Arce (51-4-1, 39 KOs) suffering a one-sided decision loss to Cristian Mijares in April 2007 and Darchinyan (31-1-1, 25 KOs) losing his flyweight title via brutal knockout to Nonito Donaire in July 2007, knocked the fight off track.

Finally, the time was right: the promoters have settled the differences; Arce has won five fights in a row while claiming an interim belt; and Darchinyan moved up to join Arce at junior bantamweight, where he won a title and then unified three belts with a ninth-round knockout of Mijares on Nov. 1.

Also on Nov. 1, but on a different card, Arce retained his interim belt by knocking out former flyweight titleholder Isidro Garcia in the fourth round.

"Everything in life is about timing and the timing is right for GSP [Gary Shaw Productions] and Top Rank and for Darchinyan-Arce," Shaw said. "Vic told me he will beat Arce worse than he beat Mijares. He told me to schedule it only for four rounds because he said that is all he will need."

Just before the bout was finalized, Darchinyan was already anticipating the deal, saying, "If Arce thinks he has a snowball's chance in hell of beating me than he's a bigger sucker than those lollipops he chews on. The last real ring test he had was against Cristian Mijares in 2007 and we all know how that ended. It was a murderous unanimous decision victory for Mijares, scored 119-109, 118-110 and 117-111. And everyone saw what I did to Mijares on Nov. 1. Arce is going to be my human piñata."

Top Rank's Bob Arum said the televised undercard bout had not been finalized but that it could involve junior middleweight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in his Showtime debut.

Arum was pleased that the deal for the main event came together.

"I think it's a very interesting fight," Arum said. "Everybody worked together but the guy who has to get credit for getting all these crazy people together, myself included, is [Showtime's] Ken Hershman. That's the fight he wanted and he got it done."

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.