Nonito Donaire, also known as the Filipino Flash, successfully defended his WBO Super Bantamweight Championship at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on Dec. 15 with a third-round knockout over veteran Mexican and former world champion Jorge Arce. Donaire raised his record to 31-1 with 20 Kos with the victory while Arce’s record fell to 61-7-2 with 46 Kos. Arce also announced his retirement after the bout.
Arce said before the fight that he would retire if he lost and then the 33-year-old said after the KO that he’s a man of his word and he won’t box again. He started the bout way too cautiously in the first round and paid for it in the second stanza when Donaire dropped him with a right hand. Arce figured he might as well go out swinging if this was to be his last fight and started to throw punches in the third round. He connected to Donaire’s body with a couple of good shots, but then paid for it soon after.
Donaire nailed the challenger with a combination to the head and he went down. Arce made it up to his feet on shaky legs and a tremendous left hook sent him to the canvas again. The referee Laurence Cole called the fight off at the 2:59 mark of the round while Arce was still flat on his back. After the bout Donaire said he felt strong and his left hook was working for him. He added that Arce wasn’t afraid to throw punches and open up in the third round and that’s what gave him the opportunity to catch him.
The 30-year-old champion has one of the longest undefeated streaks going in boxing as he hasn’t lost a bout in over 11 years. Some fans saw Donaire’s win as a bit of revenge for last week’s Juan Manuel Marquez knockout over Manny Pacquiao in the sixth round. Marquez, like Arce, hails from Mexico while Pacquiao and Donaire are from the Philippines. There’s now a huge rivalry between Mexican and Filipino boxers which fans enjoy. Donaire said he respects Mexico, but hoped his win made the Philippines proud of him.
Donaire has now defended his current world title three times and could be named boxer of the year for his performances in 2012. He fought a total of four times this year and beat quality boxers on each occasion. He won two more world championships in 2012 as he gained weight and moved up a division. Donaire said it would be a great honor to win the award, but it’s up to the fans and boxing writers to decide who the best was.
Donaire beat Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. and Jeffrey Mathebula by unanimous decisions and then knocked out Toshiaki Nishioka and Arce this year. He landed 28 punches to Arce’s 13 even though Arce threw 96 and the champion threw 93. Arce retires as a multiple world champion after winning belts in the junior featherweight, bantamweight, junior bantamweight, and junior flyweight divisions. He also won an interim title as a flyweight.
Donaire has won titles in three divisions now and may move up to featherweight. If he decides to remain at the junior featherweight (super bantamweight) division he may want to take on one of the other champions in Abner Mares and Guillermo Rigondeaux.
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