HOUSTON, Texas — A week after Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez knocked out Manny Paquiao in a shocking, non-title bout loss, FilAm Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire, 30, returned the favor to his opponent, Mexican fighter Jorge Arce, 33, (61-7-2, 46 KOs), at the Toyota Center on December 15. He sent Arce reeling to the canvas in the third round at 2:59 after unleashing a left hook to Arce’s chin.
Arce had his mouthpiece out when the referee began counting and the fight was called off. Toyota Cente, which was booming with cheers of “Mexico, Mexico” when Arce entered the ring, suddenly quieted down when Arce went crashing to the canvas in the second round. He beat the count and even dared Donaire to get him.
But as the third round began, Arce’s posturing fizzled as Donaire pummeled him with a series of right hooks to the head and a final left hook his chin to end the fight.
Before the fight, Donaire said he was not thinking of a payback against Arce. He proved this by showing his gentler side when he won. He was quoted to have said “Arce is my dear friend, and he will be my dear friend for life.”
Donaire retained his World Boxing Organization (WBO) super bantamweight belt and The Ring championship with his victory. He has won 30th straight career victory with a record of 31-1 with 20 knockouts and has not lost in 11 years. Meanwhile, Arce will retire after 70 professional bouts with a record of 61-7-2, with 46 knockouts.
Arce announced he will hang up his gloves after losing for the first time since 2009. “I promised my children that if I lost, I would retire,” he said.
With this victory, Donaire completed an impressive year. He had four fights, earning decision victories against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. of Puerto Rico for the WBO super bantamweight title and Jeffrey Mathebula of South Africa for the IBF title. In October, he knocked out Toshiaki Nishioka of Japan. He may also be named fighter of the year at a time when top pound-for-pound fighters rarely fight more than twice annually.
Donaire said he would like either Abner Mares or Guillermo Rigondeaux next. “I’d like Mares because he’s calling me out. But if that doesn’t happen, we always have Rigondeaux,” he said.
Malacañang on Sunday, through presidential spokesperson Abigal Valte, welcomed the knockout victory of Donaire saying “it was a much-needed break not just for sports fans but for Filipinos as well.” Vice President Jejomar Binay also congratulated Donaire.
“Nonito displayed admirable skill, discipline, strength and courage. He will bring pride to us for many years to come,” his spokesman Joey Salgado said.