The results of the past weekend produced additions, departures and reshuffling in a number of THE RING’s divisional ratings, but the most significant change might be Jorge Arce’s debut in the junior featherweight rankings.
Arce, who defeated unbeaten and heavily favored Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. for a 122-pound belt on the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley undercard on Saturday, entered THE RING’s junior featherweight ratings at No. 9 on the strength of his thrilling upset victory.
Arce (57-6-2, 44 knockouts), a 31-year-old former two-time junior flyweight (108-pound) titleholder, has been out of the magazine’s ratings since he was dropped from the junior bantamweight rankings after losing to Simphiwe Nongqayi in a 115-pound title bout in September of 2009.
Many fans and media considered his loss to the undefeated South African, which followed a punishing 11th-round stoppage to Vic Darchinyan earlier that year, to be the end of his entertaining career.
However, Arce, a native of Los Mochis, Mexico, who turned pro at age 16, refused to call it quits. He went unbeaten in his next five bouts, including a seventh-round technical decision over unheralded Angky Angkota for a vacant 115-pound belt, a first-round KO of faded former titleholder Martin Castillo, and a 10-round split draw against former flyweight beltholder Lorenzo Parra.
Nothing he accomplished during that five-bout run suggested that he could turn back the clock against Vazquez (20-1-1, 17 KOs), a talented 26-year-old technician from Puerto Rico who is the son of the former three-division titleholder.
However, that’s what Arce did. The 16-year veteran got up from a fourth-round knockdown and fought with abandon despite suffering a bad cut over the bridge of his nose. With bout even on two scorecards and Vazquez ahead of the third, Arce hurt and pinned his quickly fading foe against the ropes until the young beltholder’s father, Vazquez Sr., threw in the towel.
It was a typical Arce fight, the kind of wild, bloody and dramatic performance that has made him a household name in Mexico. It also may have elevated his reputation. Arce, who has always been thought of as an entertaining brawler, is now being mentioned as a possible future hall of famer.
The notion is not off base when one takes a close look at his career.
Arce has faced 17 fighters who have held major world titles (without counting interim beltholders). He has held four titles in three weight classes (not counting interim belts) — two at junior flyweight, one at junior bantamweight and one at junior featherweight.
Arce also won 26 consecutive bouts — including victories over titleholder Yo-Sam Choi (in Korea), former beltholders Rosendo Alvarez, Melchor Cob Castro and Adonis Rivas (twice each), and top-10 contender Hussein Hussein (twice) — between his 11th-round stoppage to hall of famer Michael Carbajal in 1999 and his unanimous decision loss to Cristian Mijares in 2007.
What’s next for Arce, who is reportedly considering rematches with Vazquez and Darchinyan, is anybody’s guess, but it’s clear the mighty mite will fight again. When he does he can expect a little more respect from fans and media, who can count on yet another thrilling fight.
RING RATINGS UPDATE
Librado Andrade (No. 7 last week) exits following his decision loss to Aaron Pryor Jr. All rated No. 8 and below last week advance one spot each. Thomas Oosthuizen debuts at No. 10.
Daniel Geale (No. 4 last week) and Sebastian Sylvester (No. 2 last week) switch places due to Geale’s majority decision victory over Sylvester.