3 More Rounds

Jorge Arce Steals the Show

Photos by Chris Farina / Top Rank

Just like ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley in the main event, veteran Jorge Arce was a huge underdog facing a much younger and bigger Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. in the co-featured bout on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Few experts gave either boxer a chance. And just like Mosley, Arce predicted that he would end the fight with a knockout. That is where their similarities ended. After getting dropped in the third stanza Mosley refused to engage, while Arce went after his opponent from the onset and despite being dropped hard in the sixth round, the brave Mexican warrior continued to force the action until he delivered on his promise and stopped Vasquez Jr. in the twelfth.

Aside from delivering on his promise, the 35-year old Arce (57-6-2,43KO’S) became the first Mexican boxer to win four world titles in four different weight divisions when he stopped previously unbeaten , defending WBO super bantamweight champion from Puerto Rico, Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. (20-1-1, 17 KOs). A huge upset pulled off by Arce was not the biggest surprise of the night. “It was a great fight,” said Al Bernstein, who was part of Showtime’s broadcasting team from the night.  “It was better than the main event.”Yes, the dynamic bloodbath between Arce and Vasquez Jr. was the best fight of the night and it did steal the show from the main event every one came to see.

“I told you at the press conference,” exclaimed the newly crowned WBO champion from Los Mochis, Mexico, who switched to English to express himself.  “I don’t know what happens on Saturday. The only thing I know, I win by knockout.”

Naturally smaller, Arce attacked his less experienced adversary from the opening bell. He gave Vasquez Jr. very little room to breathe applying a lot of pressure and throwing his patented hooks to the body.  “There was no other way than to bring a fight to him,” said Arce, who has never been in a bad fight.  “I fought like a true Mexican warrior. I won it for Mexico. Now my name will forever be mentioned when you speak of Mexican fighters.”

What made this fight so dramatic was that despite an inspired performance from Arce, Vasquez Jr. controlled the early rounds. He looked stronger, his punches were more powerful. He simply looked like a fighter on a higher level that Arce. Styles make fights and these two meshed together perfectly to create a dynamic, non-stop action fight. Round after round, Arce pressed forward while Vasquez Jr. returned fire just as good as he got and more as fans were mesmerized by the violence in the ring. The bloody Mexican brawler pressed even harder in the sixth stanza and ran into a left hook that deposited him on the seat of his pants. It was a perfectly placed shot that would end most fights, but Arce beat the count and continued to battle with inspiration.

“I was embarrassed when he dropped me,” said Arce.  “And I knew I needed to fight more.” And fight more he did, slowly starting to cause damage with accumulation of punches to the head and body and getting back into the fight. Arce had a huge eleventh round attacking Vasquez Jr. against the ropes for extended periods of time. “I knew I could knock him out and I did,” said Arce, who has held world titles at 108,115,118 and 122 pound divisions.   “My heart is too big. He is a good, young champion with a big punch but my experience and my heart was too much for him.”

The fight came to a dramatic conclusion as the inspired veteran unloaded punch after punch on a completely spent younger, champion whose head was snapping back with every punch. The corner of Vasquez Jr. threw in a white towel to end the massacre at fifty five seconds of the final stanza. Hopefully, former young champion will get to fight another day. “I was fine,” said Vasquez Jr.  “They should have never stopped this fight.  I feel that I would rather get knocked out and end up on the canvas that having it stopped the way it did. My father stopped it. He never should have.”

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