By Chris Cella
While Showtime will be hosting an all-day of boxing Saturday, HBO will be putting on an exciting night of fights of their own, headlined by WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire (30-1, 19 KO) putting his belt on the line against ring veteran and former champion Jorge “Travieso” Arce (61-6-2, 46 KO).
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
In his last trip to the ring October 13, Donaire dominated a gamed opponent in Toshiaki Nishioka, dropping him once in the sixth round and once more in the ninth before the fight was called to a halt by referee Raul Caiz Sr.
Prior to the win over Nishioka it had been 20 months since Donaire had stopped an opponent; fans began to question if at the age of 30 he was beginning to lose some of the pizazz he so often demonstrated throughout his early career. But Donaire quickly put any questions regarding his ability to finish an opponent to rest as he picked apart Nishioka in earning the ninth round stoppage.
On paper Donaire’s upcoming bout against Arce looks like a solid matchup; they both possess heavy hands and the ability to finish a fight. But the Arce who once dominated, having held belts in multi-divisions, no longer appears to be a fighter who belongs in the same echelon as Donaire.
Despite being only 33, Arce has lived the career of a seasoned veteran, having fought wars in the ring, while accruing a good deal of damage. Something that will stand out will be how he reacts early on in the fight if Donaire really takes it to him and pressures him. There has been speculation that Arce ‘quit’ in his fight against Jesus M. Rojas in June, so it should be interesting to see how he responds if Donaire makes him fight.
While he waits for his title defense against Arce, Donaire may spend his time checking out CBS as Leo Santa Cruz will be putting his IBF bantamweight title on the line against Alberto Guervara earlier in the day. Santa Cruz has already expressed interest in fighting Donaire in 2013; he is coming off a performance against Victor Zaleta where he devastated his opponent for nine rounds before the fight was ended.
Santa Cruz and Donaire would be an action packed exciting fight that will test the limits of both warriors, and give fight fans worldwide a show.
Leading up to the Donaire/Arce fight is another super bantamweight title fight, between undefeated Cuban pugilist Guillermo Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KO) going to battle with Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (48-2, 33 KO).
With the likelihood of Donaire/Arce looking more like a glorified sparring session than a world title defense, this prelude to the fight has the makings to be much more exciting than the main event.
The action begins on HBO at 9:30 p.m. Eastern, live from the Toyota Center in Houston.