Jorge Arce will fight a ten-round, non-title bout on February 18 in Mexico, a result of the WBO turning down two potential challengers to Arce's bantamweight belt, Miguel Rivera reports.
Arce was originally slated to rematch Lorenzo Parra, but the WBO balked as Parra is not ranked by their organization. After that, Arce targeted Giovanni Andrade, and the WBO turned down that fight, too:
"The WBO will not sanction this fight. If we sanction a fight between Arce and Andrade, our organization will lose credibility among many. We must maintain a level of prestige. Title fights must be between fighters in our rankings and deserving of a title shot."
The idea of credibility is kind of funny, but in this one instance it's kind of bold.
Arce has been allowed to do as he wishes during his career because he's popular and attracts good crowds in Mexico. In boxing, the WBO following its own rules amounts to "taking a stand."
Arce did try to land a fight with Williams Prado, a Brazilian ridiculously ranked ninth by the WBO, but couldn't put together a deal. So now he's just doing what he has to do, getting back in the ring for a non-title fight, after which he hopes to face the winner of the Nonito Donaire vs Wilfredo Vazquez Jr fight. Those two meet on February 4 in San Antonio, on the Chavez vs Rubio HBO undercard.
Really, the plan for Arce since vacating his 122-pound belt and picking up the vacant 118-pound title has been to go back and face the Donaire vs Vazquez winner, so this is no surprise. Arce beat Vazquez in a thriller on the Pacquiao vs Mosley show, which was followed by talk of him fighting Donaire in early 2012. That all changed a little bit, but it appears that Top Rank still plans to push a Donaire vs Arce fight. Trainer Robert Garcia mentioned Arce specifically in a recent interview with Ryan Maquinana, and it's a fight that does make sense from pretty much every angle except a pro-Arce angle.