Nonito Donaire is looking to close out the year with a fight against Mexican veteran Jorge Arce in a defense of Donaire’s 122lb WBO title. The fight is taking place on December 15th and it will be Donaire’s 4th fight this year and it comes off the heels of his latest victory over recently retired Toshiaki Nishioka of Japan. The Arce fight, like Donaire’s 3 others, will be broadcasted on HBO from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
The fight has been criticized by fans for not being against Abner Mares or Guillermo Rigondeaux, in reality a Mares fight would’ve been impossible at this juncture because he would have only had a month to prepare for the December 15th date with Donaire. However, Rigondeaux is scheduled to be the co-main event of the night so it would have been possible theoretically, but not fiscally.
The uproar for Top Rank to make a fight between Donaire and the aforementioned #2 and #3 fighters in the division is becoming increasingly overwhelming. It doesn’t have the demand of a Mayweather-Pacquiao, but the frustration levels are getting just as high. That is due mostly in part to Bob Arum and Richard Schafer’s stubbornness and unwillingness to work together.
Let’s just put that behind us for the moment and just refuse to allow the political nature of the sport effect the fight at hand. That said, I for one am excited for the Donaire-Arce fight.
It’s true that Arce isn’t the competition that could perceivably test Donaire and he has little chance of winning the fight. However, he has a great chance at making it an eye-pleasing fight with the potential to touch Donaire throughout the fight (for however long it lasts).
The aspect of this fight that I find most appealing is this is an opportunity for Donaire to look impressive. It’s not that Donaire hasn’t looked impressive in his last few outings, but it hasn’t been to the caliber that we’ve come to expect. The one thing you can give Arce is he won’t back down and he will make an attempt to put leather on Donaire. That kind of effort will give Donaire the opportunity to look superb in a way that could resurrect the memories of his “knockout of the year” performance against Fernando Montiel.
This is exactly the kind of opponent Donaire needs after his last few opponents have performed timidly and fought in the kind of defensive manner that would leave you to believe that they’d seen the Montiel fight more than once. Arce won’t be afraid to exchange and that could make for an entertaining fight.
If Donaire can provide us with a solid highlight-reel finish then that will only add to the demand from casual fans to see a fight between him and Mares/Rigondeaux.
For a second though, I would like to explore another interesting dynamic. I’m not suggesting that Arce will win nor would I advise anyone to bet against Donaire regardless of odds (unless it’s 10,000 to 1 then you have to take it, fans of The Office may get that reference). Yet, I think that the kind of fight Arce will bring, depending on his determination to win, can present Donaire with the kind of challenges that may have eluded him for a few fights.
Donaire is experienced and in no way will he come into the fight under prepared, but this is boxing and all it takes is one punch to change the momentum of any fight. It’s mainly the pace that concerns me; if Donaire has become complacent then the persistence of Arce’s attack could prove overwhelming. If Arce doesn’t go out right away and he continues to take shots to land them then he may put Donaire in an uncomfortable position and with Donaire’s comfort level disrupted Arce can put forth a realistic effort towards a win.
It may not be likely, but this kind of fight can be dangerous for any fighter regardless of skill set because those are the kind of in ring challenges that can’t be duplicated in a fighter’s preparation, at least not fully.