Nonito Donaire and Jorge Arce look headed for a showdown, as has been discussed for a year or so, and Lance Pugmire reports that the two will meet on October 20 in either San Antonio or Houston.
Donaire (29-1, 18 KO) has fought twice this year in the 122-pound division, beating both Wilfredo Vazquez Jr and Jeffrey Mathebula, solid wins that have made it clear he can indeed fight at the weight, but perhaps might not be the wrecking ball destroyer we saw when he was facing smaller fighters. Either way you slice it, Donaire is a top talent, and he's also become a very notable name in the boxing world, and an HBO main eventer despite fighting in a division the network has not historically featured.
Arce (60-6-2, 46 KO) last fought on June 9, the featured undercard bout of the Pacquiao vs Bradley event. That night, he went to a no-contest with Puerto Rico's Jesus Rojas, in a fight that appeared to be getting tougher than most expected. There was talk of an Arce-Rojas rematch, but it looks like Top Rank have decided to go exactly where they wanted to in the first place, and forget about the Rojas fight ever happening (or not happening, as it were).
Donaire vs Arce is a matchup that guarantees excitement, but an honest assessment also comes with noting that it's basically a perfect matchup for Donaire, who feeds off of overly aggressive opponents. That's when he looks his best. Right now, Top Rank needs Donaire to have a shining star sort of performance, and Arce is the type of opponent who will give him the opportunity.
But though I see it as a huge uphill battle for the Mexican warrior, I can't entirely disregard Jorge's chances, either. He was supposed to get easily beaten by Vazquez in 2011, and that didn't happen. Never totally count out someone like Jorge Arce. That's my advice.
If the fight is on HBO as expected, it will likely be going head-to-head with a Showtime card, as Golden Boy Promotions has had October 20 booked for months, with their big debut at the brand new Barclays Center in Brooklyn coming that night. It's been thought that Paulie Malignaggi will headline that evening, and Mike Coppinger reported earlier that Peter Quillin will be part of that card, too. There's also an outside chance that Donaire-Arce could be a Top Rank pay-per-view card, but HBO has shown a serious dedication to making Donaire one of their new headline stars, so I'd expect HBO.