Nonito Donaire retained his WBO super bantamweight championship with a dominant third-round knockout over challenger Jorge Arce Saturday night at the Toyota Center in Houston.
The two fighters felt each other out for the first round, but the pace quickened in Round 2. Donaire began to throw more combinations and caught Arce to score his first knockdown of the fight.
The third round was even more impressive for Donaire. He scored an early knockdown over Arce, and, like Arce always does, the challenger kept pushing forward, trying to land punches of his own.
In the third round's final seconds, though, Donaire dropped Arce. It was obvious right away that the fight was over as Arce struggled to peel himself off the mat.
Not only was this a great fight, but it was the final fight that HBO legend Larry Merchant will commentate from ringside. He gave viewers a few of his textbook comments, leaving you scratching your head while trying to figure out what he just said.
Arce entered this fight behind a 68-6-2 record with 46 knockouts in his career. He's notorious for his straight-forward approach, using his toughness to battle his way through fights. Even though he doesn't play great defense or display an all-around skill set, he's still one of the sport's most entertaining competitors.
Donaire was 30-1 with 19 knockouts entering Saturday's bout. Coming into the fight, it wasn't hard to guess that he would use his complete skill set to try to push Arce around the ring. The only real advantage that Arce had coming into it was his tremendous heart.
Arce fought the fight that many expected, and he lost the only way that he possibly could have. He doesn't ever back down, but Donaire was too good.
Once again, Donaire proved himself to be a great fighter and someone who steps up when the title is on the line. It will be interesting to see whom he fights next, with the most likely candidates being Abner Mares or Guillermo Rigondeaux