Arce has fight left in him
Jorge Arce (left) got in plenty of his own punches during his loss to Vic Darchinyan on Saturday in Anaheim, Calif. Photo / Chris Farina-Top Rank
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Obviously, Jorge Arce is no longer a major-title contender. He has now lost badly to the two best fighters in his division, first Cristian Mijares in 2007 and then Vic Darchinyan on Saturday night at the Honda Center.
Does that mean he’s finished? No, it only means that he can’t beat the very best at this point of his career.
Make no mistake, Arce (51-5-1, 39 knockouts) was beaten up by Darchinyan (31-1-1, 26 KOs). He won only one round on each of the three cards before the fight was stopped after the 11th round because of a bad cut above his right eye.
And he wasn’t in good shape after the fight. He gave a short speech at the post-fight news conference – which showed a lot of class – and then, complaining of pain in his head, was taken on a gurney out of the Honda Center and to a hospital. It wasn’t pretty.
Even at his very best, Arce probably wouldn’t have beaten a fighter of Darchinyan’s ability and power.
However, while Arce clearly has declined to some degree after so many wars, he isn’t shot at 29. He demonstrated that he still has the courage and passion that has marked his impressive career and can hold his own with a murderous puncher.
Darchinyan was supposed to knock his overmatched opponent down and out. Didn’t happen. The champion landed many hard, punishing shots – the kind of shots that’ve destroyed other fighters – but Arce took ’em, never left his feet and kept coming.
There were times in the fight that Darchinyan seemed frustrated, as if saying to himself: “How is this guy still standing?”
As predicted, Arce also had trouble with Darchinyan’s awkward southpaw style. However, he figured out fairly early in the fight how to cope and at least compete. He bulled his way inside, held when he had to and landed many of his own punches.
Arce didn’t do nearly enough to win; this was Darchinyan’s fight all the way. However, he did better than many expected – certainly better than Mirjares, who was knocked out by Darchinyan in the ninth round in November. And, remember, Mijares was considered one of the best fighters in the world pound-for-pound at the time.
Even Darchinyan, who typically has little respect for his opponents, was impressed.
“He surprised me,” Darchinyan said. “I didn’t expect this kind of fight. He’s tough and a good fighter. ÔÇª I hit him with some good shots but he kept fighting back.”
What now for Arce?
Again, it’s hard to imagine him fighting the very best in the sport but there are many good, tough action fighters in the lower weight divisions with whom he could make an intriguing and marketable matchup. He’s still a lot of fun to watch.
Again, he’s no longer a top contender. But he could remain a fringe contender with considerable earning power for some time.
“I thought he showed again that he’s a real warrior,” said Todd duBoef of Top Rank, Arce’s promoter. “Guys like that always have a place in boxing. He’s an icon in Mexico. He’ll be back in the ring.”
There’s little doubt of that.
Consider: Arce wanted to fight the final round even with depleted energy and blood gushing into his eyes, the result of a head butt that caused a nasty gash. It bled so profusely in the 11th round that he could barely fight back.
Yet he wanted to continue.
“I don’t know why the doctor stopped the fight before the last round. I’m a puncher and a puncher always has a chance to win,” he said, genuinely believing that he could still pull it out.
And his decision to speak at the news conference took more courage than one might realize. Immediately after he spoke, he was taken into a back room at the Honda Center and treated by paramedics, who gave him oxygen before strapping him to the gurney and whisking him away.
His eyes were glassy. Obviously, he was in pain.
Yet he wanted to speak at the news conference, where he gave no excuses for his defeat.
See, Arce is a fighter. And one beating, even a bad one like this, isn’t going to stop him from fighting again.
Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]