Jorge Arce is a warrior in a sport where the word is thrown around with far too much frequency. But there are times where that simply is not enough to overcome a massive gulf in age, size, speed and talent. That was the case tonight when Arce was simply outgunned on every level by Nonito Donaire.
Early in the fight Arce was fighting in a style that is unusual to him, circling outside, looking to land single shots and avoid engaging in a typical Arce firefight. It was likely simple awareness of what he was up against more than that he didn't have it in him, but it ultimately wasn't all that effective. Donaire spent the first round looking to land overhand rights, which he did with a fair amount of regularity.
That right hand would land more in the second round and it would also be the punch that put Arce down for the first time in the bout. Arce got up and started to come forward with a bit more urgency, likely more out of habit than it being the best idea, but he did survive the round. Between rounds Arce reassured his corner that he was fine and that nothing was wrong, but things didn't get better.
Arce started to respond to getting hit in round three by waiving Donaire in but then was dropped to the canvas again. While he rose to his feet, it was only another few moments before a massive left hand from Donaire dropped Arce flat on his back, either unable or unwilling to get up.
With the win it's likely that Donaire cements Fighter of the Year awards from most outlets that give out such things. The win over Arce was predictable, the fight went down exactly as people who were honest with themselves expected it to, but it was the fourth win in 2012 for Donaire.
For Arce, who knows what's next? It's probably a fair time to hang up the gloves, but it's also his first loss in a long time and fighters don't step away at the best moment, so I'm sure it's back to the drawing board and back into the ring soon enough.
Update: Right after I published this Arce said he was retiring.
You can read Bad Left Hook's full coverage of the card here and also get a different perspective of things and additional coverage at Bloody Elbow.