- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Former two-division titleholder Vic Darchinyan, who gave Nonito Donaire fits before being stopped in his last fight, performed well enough in defeat that it probably will land him a shot at a featherweight title.
Darchinyan likely will challenge 126-pound titlist Nicholas Walters on May 31 at the CotaiArena at Venetian Macao in Macau, China, on the undercard of Donaire’s shot at a different version of the title in the main event against Simpiwe Vetyeka.
Walters (23-0, 19 KOs), 28, of Jamaica, was originally slated to make his second title defense against Alejandro Perez, but Perez took a tune-up bout against journeyman Juan Carlos Martinez and lost a split decision in disappointing performance last week.
That opened the door for the 38-year-old Darchinyan (39-6-1, 28 KOs), who held titles at flyweight and unified belts junior bantamweight, to get the offer for the fight.
Asked if they were going to make a deal, Frank Espinoza, Darchinyan’s manager, told ESPN.com, “Yes, it looks that way. This is a great opportunity for Vic to show the world that he still has what it take to be a world champion. Vic is hungry and ready for war. In China, a new champion will be crowned and Vic will make history.”
Donaire and Darchinyan both were making their featherweight debuts when they met in a rematch of Donaire’s knockout victory to win a flyweight title in 2007. In the November rematch, Darchinyan was ahead on two scorecards and even on the third as they headed for the ninth round of a fight in which Darchinyan fractured Donaire’s orbit bone. But Donaire rallied and stopped the Armenian-born Darchinyan in the ninth round.
“Darchinyan clearly showed that he is far from done with his performance against Donaire,” Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN.com. “He was ahead on two of the three scorecards, he has a great name, he’s been a great champion. It’s an interesting fight, and it’s a good test for Walters. Vic would be the best opponents Walters has faced. Walters is not as experienced as Darchinyan, but he’s younger and strong.”
Espinoza also gave an update on two of his others fighters:
• Junior lightweight contender Diego Magdaleno (25-1, 10 KOs) will return on the Juan Manuel Marquez-Mike Alvarado undercard on May 17 at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. He has no opponent yet.
• Excellent featherweight prospect Oscar Valdez (9-0, 9 KOs), a 2012 Mexican Olympian, will appear in an eight-rounder against Adrian Perez (10-4-1, 1 KO) on the undercard of next Saturday’s Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.