Donaire vs. Arce: Discussing Donaire Performance and Where He Goes Next
The left hook of Nonito Donaire held a fiesta on the face of Jorge Arce Dec. 15 in front of a wild crowd at the Toyota Center in Houston, Tex.
The pro Mexican crowd cheered for their beloved Arce, a proud warrior who's given some great thrill in his time, but their Spanish chants for Donaire's downfall could not improve Arce's underdog status.
Arce was an underdog for a reason despite his decorated career. Donaire is bigger, faster, more athletic and came with a much more rounded set of boxing skills to bring to the cook-off, and he had Arce for dinner.
Here's a look at Donaire's victory.
Donaire Respects Arce's Power
Donaire came into the ring to a chorus of deep, spiteful boos from a pro Mexican audience here to support his opponent, the action-oriented Jorge Arce.
And at 33 years old, he's expected to be the underdog against a prime, still-fresh Donaire. Arce has been in this position before. He fought Wilfredo Vázquez, Jr. on the undercard of Pacquiao-Mosley last year.
Then-undefeated Puerto Rican world champ Vázquez was supposed to cruise through Arce on his way to the top, but Arce gave the crowd a bloody war en route to a stoppage victory in Round 12.
The same man Donaire would go on to earn a split decision against was the same man Arce had stopped inside the distance, prompting Donaire to be careful initially.
"Arce is an offensive type of fighter, so we already know what to expect that from him, but he is a dangerous guy," Donaire said after the fight.
Donaire was cautious in the first round, but proved to be the more aggressive fighter, as he jabbed while moving forward and chasing Arce, who appeared intimidated by the speed and size of his opponent.
Donaire sensed this uncharacteristic cautiousness in Arce and eventually launched a left hand that downed Arce in Round 2 after setting it up and watching the Mexican fighter move.
"I got him with the jab and I knew what he was going to do [afterwards]," he said.
Donaire hurt Arce, and in true vintage Arce-form, the warrior wanted to come back and show he was not hurt by the Filipino. Arce began to forgo defense in an attempt to get in close and make it a brawl.
Donaire was able to catch Arce with even more counters and lefts, but was still able to maintain his defense and evasiveness as he continued to dominate the fight.
"I knew that at any moment in any time of the round, every second can make a difference in that round," he said.
In Round 3, Arce was dropped hard twice by the left hook. After the second knockdown in the round, Arce was on his back and clearly no longer about to continue.
Robert Garcia Rates the Performance
When asked how well he thought the knockout victory over Arce went, Donaire's trainer, Robert Garcia, said, "I honestly believe this is one of his best performances ever."
Garcia described Arce as the "perfect opponent for Nonito to shine" due to his style. Donaire has been in fights that proved to be duds, such as last year's unanimous decision over Omar Narváez that was difficult for Donaire to generate the level excitement that his fans expect of him in world title fights.
"We know the danger of having Arce in front of us, but we also know that style makes fights," Garcia said. "That was the perfect style for Nonito to shine.”
What Comes Next?
Naturally, every member of the boxing media swarmed Donaire and his team with questions about who he'll fight next, specifically noting WBA 122 lb. title holders Guillermo Rigondeaux and Abner Mares.
Donaire's trainer, Garcia, likes Mares over Rigondeaux due to the former's more exciting style than the latter among other things.
"Mares would be a more exciting fight for the fans, for Mexican fans," Garcia said. "It would just be huge in the L.A. area, or in Vegas. That’s why I pick Mares, because that’s the fight we’re doing for the fans. We’re thinking about giving what the fans deserve.”
Rigondeaux, while he does contain explosive power, is a bit timid with his punch output and is very comfortable with being defense-minded and evasive over explosive and exciting.
But unlike Rigondeaux and Donaire, who are with Top Rank Promotions, Mares belongs with rival promoter Golden Boy.
"That’s between them, I really don’t get involved," Garcia said concerning the subject of Donaire-Mares negotiations. "I don’t even really ask why or why not. That’s their job. They both have promoters; they both have managers ... If [they can't work out a deal], Nonito’s on top of the world, and he can make so many different decisions. [He] can stay at 122 or go up to featherweight. Nonito calls the shots right now. And I think Mares, the only thing he can do, is wait and hope that [the promoters] work something out. I think he’s the one that has to beg his promoter to try to make it happen. We don’t have to.”
When it comes to the subject of who's next, Donaire doesn't really care. No matter who the opponent is, he's confident in his abilities.
"From 122-126, I'm ready for it," Donaire said as he returned to his entourage to celebrate and eat with his team.
Follow me on Twitter @justindavidtate. All quotes were obtained firsthand on-site at the Toyota Center in Houston, TX, by Justin David Tate, featured columnist at Bleacher Report.