VIC DARCHINYAN wears a diamond encrusted ring on his left hand so large 50 Cent and P. Diddy would be jealous.
It’s the flashiest thing about the steely-eyed, no-nonsense Australian boxer, aptly nicknamed "The Raging Bull" and known for relentlessly chasing opponents around the ring until he destroys them with his fists.
His ferocious punching power has made him a favourite among American boxing fans and today (noon, Sydney time) millions will tune in to watch Darchinyan face the greatest test of his prolific 32 professional bout, 24-knockout, career.
Darchinyan takes on the sport’s new sensation, 27-year-old Mexican pretty boy, Cristian Mijares, in an historic clash at Los Angeles’ outdoor Home Depot Center for the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation super-flyweight titles.
It is the first time the division will be unified.
"It is by far the biggest fight of my career," Darchinyan admitted.
The last time Darchinyan fought at the Home Depot Center, he beat his opponent, Victor Burgos, so severely, the Mexican was carried from the ring on a stretcher, rushed to hospital, underwent brain surgery to remove a blood clot and remained in a coma for weeks.
The fight was almost 20 months ago and Burgos, back in his home town of Tijuana, is yet to recover.
He will never fight again and is lucky to talk and walk – two things he had to re-learn through months of intense rehabilitation.
As tough and violent as Darchinyan is in the ring, Mijares, with a 41 pro fight (15 KO) record, is as sharp and clinical.
A poll of 31 of America’s top boxing writers released on the fight’s eve revealed just six thought Darchinyan would win.
The lack of disrespect was like waving a red flag in front of The Raging Bull.
As he stood on stage at a press event in Los Angeles on Thursday, Darchinyan’s eyes looked down at the media sitting before him.
"I’m going to prove you all wrong," Darchinyan said, his diamond ring sparkling as he pointed at the journalists. "He’s not this great boxer that you all say he is."
Darchinyan is used to being disrespected.
A member of the Armenian 2000 Olympic boxing team, he liked Sydney so much he made Australia home and became a citizen in 2004. However, he often has been overshadowed by Anthony Mundine, Kostya Tszyu and Danny Green.
"I like Vic," Mijares’s promoter, Lou DiBella, said.
"I’m a fan because when you can punch, you entertain people.
"Frankly, when you are a little fighter, you need to get attention and Vic is as brash as you get."
Darchinyan and Mijares are small in stature, standing 166cm and 168cm respectively and weigh 52kg, but Darchinyan’s American promoter, Gary Shaw, loves to talk about his boxer’s heart.
"If I told Vic he had to fight Mike Tyson, Vic would show up for the fight," said Shaw, a solidly built New Jersey boxing veteran who looks like he walked off the set of The Sopranos .
"If I was in a bar-room brawl and could pick someone to be with me, I’d pick Vic Darchinyan."
It was Shaw who bought Darchinyan the impressive diamond ring.
Darchinyan does not know how many carats are on it, but The Raging Bull has a warning to anyone thinking about robbing him.
"If someone wants to take it they can come and try," Darchinyan said with a smile.