On the list of ways that a boxer can sail off into the sunset and enjoy retirement, a knockout loss isn't at the top. For Jorge Arce, however, it is hard to imagine a more appropriate way to say goodbye to the sport he has been such a big part of for the last 16 years.
On Saturday night, in front of over 7,000 fans in Houston, against junior featherweight world champion Nonito Donaire, Arce took a huge left hook right to the face that sent him down to the canvas with just one second remaining in the third round.
After the fight was over, Arce announced to the crowd in attendance and everyone watching at home that he was calling it a career (via ESPN.com):
My career is over. He is the best man. I have a family to take care of. I promised them I would leave the ring if I lost. He's very good. I am proud to have lost to the best. It fills me with honor.
Honor and dignity are two things that most boxers don't have the chance to retire with. They are so fixated on cashing in their name as long as they can, which is their prerogative, to the point where it is sad to see them still boxing years after their prime.
Arce is just 33 years old, so he could keep going for at least a few more years at the level he was fighting at during his 11-fight unbeaten streak in the nearly three years leading up to this fight with Donaire.
Rather than holding onto that glory and keeping the machine going just for the sake of doing it, though, Arce has a great, compelling story to tell his grandchildren about his storied career in boxing and how it all ended.
Arce didn't lose to some club fighter who landed a lucky punch. He went down against a world champion in a main-event fight and someone he has tremendous respect for. If an athlete has to go out with a loss, it would be hard to find a better way to do it than this.
Plus, in a case of a career coming full circle, Arce's first loss as a professional boxer came in his fifth career fight via knockout.
He is leaving the sport on his own terms while he is still able to enjoy his life without, presumably, any significant long-term damage.
If it had to come via loss, Arce couldn't have scripted a better ending to his career. Now he can enjoy the spoils that life will bring him.