By: Sergio L. Martinez
The English translation of caballero is “gentleman”; Arce is known for being a reckless brawler with a ton of heart and solid power. It must also be said that he was much more than that. Arce had great boxing skills, was a good counterpuncher and had very fast hands. His footwork was solid and he had a high boxing I.Q.
Arce was a truly complete fighter which led to his longevity and some of the biggest paydays that any lower weight class fighter has ever received. Although many would disagree that there is anything gentle about Jorge Arce the fighter, the person decided to make good on a prefight conversation about his family.
During his post-fight interview with Larry Merchant, Arce said, “My career is over. I leave after the best man.” Merchant followed-up by asking if Arce was sure this was the end. Arce responded, “I have a family to take care of. I have my children. I promised them that if I lost that I would leave and I would quit. I lost and I’m a gentleman.”
Arce’s career spans 16 years and his resume is a “who’s who” of top guys between 108 to 122 pounds. His list includes: Michal Carbajal, Rosendo Alvarez, Hussein Hussein, Melchor Cob Castro, Cristian Mijares, Vic Darchinyan, Martin Castillo, Lorenzo Parra, Wilfredo Vasquez Jr., and Nonito Donaire. Arce captured titles in five different weight classes and gave the boxing world some memorable fights and incredible knockouts.
The Donaire fight was the 70th professional contest of Arce’s illustrious career. The little giant was always entertaining and was the driving force that made little guys relevant in the American market. His brazen, wild man persona outside of the ring matched his fearless, risk-taking fighting style inside the ring. This combination lead to widespread popularity and made weights under 118 pounds relevant in the United States. He was a big draw with the boxing world, taking on all newcomers and fighting the best available, oftentimes coming up in weight meeting fighters at their best weight classes.
“Thank God that I’ve saved everything I’ve earned so I have no needs,” Arce concluded. “I’m going to work as a boxing commentator and will watch boxing on television from my home.” Arce paid tribute to Merchant by saying, “You are the best.”
Arce’s absence will be felt and boxing will miss the lollipop eating, cowboy hat-wearing, little badass from Los Mochis, Mexico. Few fighters in history hold the kind of credentials that Arce does. It is a guaranteed thing that the International Boxing Hall of Fame will call as soon as Arce is eligible. After 70 professional fights and so many great memories, Arce is finally riding off into the sunset. But even in absentia, this little giant’s shadow will be cast on the lower weight division for years to come.