Mexico’s Jorge “El Travieso” Arce ventures to Southern California to face Argentina’s Julio Roque Ler at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday.

Arce (45-3-1, 35 KOs) has abandoned the flyweight division and now fights as a full-fledged junior bantamweight at 115 pounds and is anxious to make his first California appearance in the ring. Strangely, his younger brother Francisco Arce lives and trains in California, but older brother Jorge has never fought here.

“Come and see me fight,” said an excited Arce while in Los Angeles. “You won’t be bored.”

Arce, a former flyweight world champion, made more fame while appearing on a television reality show in Mexico than inside the boxing ring. Now thousands of Spanish-speaking fans know El Travieso, which translates into the mischievous one.

“It was fun. But now I want to show people what I can do as a boxer. I want people to know I’m one of the best fighters pound-for-pound,” said Arce who hopes to catapult into bigger contests with Martin Castillo, Jose Navarro and possibly flyweight world champion Vic Darchinyan.

“If Darchinyan comes up here to this weight I’ll fight him,” Arce said.

Ler (23-1, 14 KOs) has never fought outside of Argentina. But his only loss came against former WBA junior bantamweight titleholder Alexander Munoz. That was by decision.

Argentine fighters are famous for their rugged styles and ability to match opponents punch for punch. Ler arrives with a lot of question marks, but withstanding 12 rounds against Venezuela’s Munoz says a lot about his tenacity.

Also on the fight card will be undefeated middleweight Kelly Pavlik of Ohio facing Mexico’s Jose Luis Zertuche. It’s a very dangerous contest for the midwesterner who is only 24 years old.

Pavlik and Zertuche have one common opponent in Colombia’s hard-punching Fulgencio Zuniga. Zertuche fought Zuniga twice and lost a close disputed decision and earlier fought him to a draw. Pavlik was dropped early in their contest but rallied to win by unanimous decision over Zuniga.

The winner moves on to a possible middleweight world title bid.

In a junior middleweight bout, former 2004 U.S. Olympian Vanes Matirosyan meets Taronze Washington in a bout scheduled for eight rounds.

One local kid you might want to check out is John Molina, a heavy-handed lightweight who trains in South El Monte. Master boxing trainer Ben Lira has quickly guided the quick-fisted Molina to four knockout victories. Lira has a history of making world champions. He formerly tutored Terry Norris and Lupe Aquino.

It’s going to be an excellent fight card worth seeing in person.

Tickets are still available at the Honda Center formerly known as the Arrowhead Pond.

An open workout session for all the fighters will be held Thursday at 726 S. Center Street in Santa Ana from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. It’s free to the public.

Ricky Hatton aftermath

Great Britain’s Ricky Hatton turned out to be more intent on holding than in hitting when he beat Colombia’s Juan Urango last Saturday. It was a dismal performance for many American fans intent on seeing the next great sensation from the United Kingdom.

Many boxing writers labeled Hatton as a Mexican style fighter from Manchester.

Not quite. Mexicans don’t hold.

Though HBO’s Jim Lampley and Emanuel Steward lauded Hatton’s performance, it was Larry Merchant and Harold Lederman who accurately surmised that Hatton’s deliberate holding tactics might not attract fans on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Basically it was a boring fight.

“I don’t think it was boring,” said Hatton who repeatedly dove in head-first to grab Urango’s waist, legs or arms whenever possible from the sixth round through the 12th. “He was a tough guy.”

It’s clear that holding tactics are not permitted under boxing rules but rarely will a referee penalize a fighter for excessive holding. Especially when a fighter is someone of Hatton’s stature who potentially brings millions of dollars to boxing matches.

Referee Tony Weeks warned Hatton for holding but did not penalize him. But it’s not up to Weeks to decide what is allowed. The Nevada State Athletic Commission and other boxing commissions throughout the world need to advise referees to uphold rules against holding regardless of the possible millions of dollars at stake. If not, the sport of boxing is going to lose fans.

Hitting and holding tactics make a fight boring. Hatton is not the only one guilty of using the tactic. Cory Spinks, Wladimir Klitschko and John Ruiz utilize the grappling aspect as part of their arsenal. In fact, the big question is: if any of the aforementioned fighters could win without holding?

Without a doubt Hatton has the tools to win a fight on his skills and heart. So why does he hold so much?

Hatton will be meeting Jose Luis Castillo in June, but if it turns into another hug-fest that could ruin it for American fans. Maybe the British love Hatton but Americans dislike huggers.

Fights on television

Thurs. Versus, 9 p.m., Ulises Solis (22-1-2) vs. Will Grigsby (18-3-1).

Fri. ESPN2, 5 p.m., Teddy Reid (23-8-2) vs. Richard Gutierrez (19-1).

Fri. Telefutura, 8 p.m., Antonio Escalante (14-1) vs. Mauricio Pastrana (33-7-2).

Sat.HBO, 10:15 p.m., Jorge Arce (45-3-1) vs. Julio Ser (23-1).