No PED cloud hung over this one. Nonito Donaire, the bigger, more skilled, younger and most tested boxer, crushed Jorge Arce in the main event at the Toyota Center in Houston on Saturday night. Donaire sent him down once in the second and twice in the third. The left hook that ended came at 2:59, and will get some consideration for KO of the year...if not for Juan Manuel Marquez' special on Manny Pacquiao.
Donaire went 28-93 to 13-96 for the loser.
After the fight, Donaire lauded Larry Merchant for a fine career. He said Arce caught him, and noted that a busted knuckle wasn't fully healed, but he's a battler, and needs to rumble. He said he hopes the Filipinos are proud of him and are happy that he beat the Mexican, for Manny. He said he'd like Mares, or Rigo, but that he has told Top Rank for two years to get Mares to the table. To Merchant, Arce said after his career is over. Are you sure, Merchant asked. He said he promised his family he would retire if he lost. The Mexican said "he's very good" and had a power edge. They are friends, but Arce said he's proud to have lost to the better man. "You are the best," Arce said to Merchant, after saying he would move over to commentary.
Donaire (age 30-1 entering; age 30; from the Phillipines) was 121 1/4 while Arce (61-6-2; age 33; from Mexico) was 122. Donaire went to 129 to 135 for Arce. Top Rank put together the fight and the card.
In the first, the WBO super bantam champ Donaire, a contender coming in for BWAA Fighter of the Year, pumped a sharp multiple jab. He wanted to land a long right a few times. Arce fought more patiently than we're used to. He ate a couple uppercuts as well.
In the second, the ex four division champ, who hired Angel Heredia to do his thing for him for this fight, went down off a right. His corner told him to move his head and counter after the round.
In the third, Arce looked to rumble. He landed a left hook to the head. He went down again, with 25 seconds left. A right hurt him badly. A left hook at the end of the round finished him.