Nonito Donaire has proved once again that he is one of the pound-for-pound best in the sport of boxing this past weekend with a convincing stoppage victory over longtime champion Toshiaki Nishioka. Though he had the unfortunate side effect of having to follow thelikely fight of the year in Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado which, in turn, would make just about anything seem boring, Donaire proved his mastery of Nishioka with his typical blazing speed and heavy hands. After such a big win against a top fighter, we were quick to wonder where Donaire could go from here. Well, he may be taking a step back.
At the press conference following the bout, Bob Arum declared he was wanting to make a fight between Donaire and Mexican hero Jorge Arce, one of the most exciting fighters in the sport over the last decade. Now, this is nothing new at all. It literally seems every time Donaire is going to fight again that Arce's name is brought up by Arum as his next opponent. Thus far, obviously, it has not come off. But fear not, boxing fans, Arum has brought Arce back into discussion once again, this time saying he plans to hold the event in Mexico City.
Pardon me for not being overly excited by the news of Donaire's potential squash match, but watching Arce, one of my favorites, get smashed just so the belle of the ball can look pretty, doesn't get me aroused. Arce's best years are certainly behind him, now he is around for decent paychecks and paper titles. He's not a top fighter anymore, though it's debatable if he ever truly was. Arce's appeal was his warrior mentality. Arum would wisely feature him at times on his big pay-per-view undercards, and Arce would basically save the show from being a disaster. One time he almost upstaged the stars when, on the undercard of the first Manny Pacquiao - Erik Morales war, he stopped Hussein Hussein in ten rounds after what was an hellacious war. The guy did the same thing when he stopped Wildredo Vasquez Jr. in the 12th on the undercard of Pacquiao - Shane Mosley.
So why is Arce being brought in for slaughter against a man he has no hope of defeating? Well there are three main reason that I can think of. First, is that he is badly outgunned. Save for a lucky punch he has no chance of winning. Second, he is going to come to fight. Arce has one movement: forward. The only way he backs up is if he is hurt, and we may see that if this fight comes off. In other words, he is going to make Donaire look like a million bucks. Third, is that Arce has a good name and will certainly bring in fans who have seen his previous wars. None of these reasons, you may have noted, give us cause to expect a competitive boxing match.
But hey. At least Arce will throw down for the time being and make it more fun than 90% of the other garbage out there, right? I mean this is still better than Andre Ward or Chad Dawson against (x), is it not? Well, possibly but, then again, maybe not.
Remember Arce's matchup with Armenian slugger Vic Darchinyan? Guaranteed to be a slugfest. Well, it didn't turn out that way because Arce was outgunned and outfought by a bigger, stronger fighter. And this was nearly four years ago at junior bantamweight. Imagine what an in-his-prime stud like Donaire at junior featherweight will do to him. If Darchinyan shuts you down at 115, you don't have a prayer against Donaire at 122. Sorry, buddy.
What is most likely to happen if they actually do fight in December? The first two or three rounds is probably a decent slugfest with both guys throwing big shots. Then Arce gets hit with one (or a few) that remind him he could be beating second-tier guys for far less headaches. From there he can decide to either let it all out and get destroyed quickly, or attempt to survive and hear the final bell, but make it a disappointing fight.
Either way, Arce will have nothing to lose against a foe bigger, faster, stronger, and younger than him. That burden, the burden to dominate and entertain, will lay squarely at the feet of Nonito Donaire.