THE RING’s No. 8-rated junior featherweight, Jorge Arce, has continued to rise in stature even as he has dropped down in weight.
The 32-year-old Mexican veteran, who recently vacated his WBO junior featherweight title, won Saturday night’s bloody, largely toe-to-toe war for the WBO’s vacant bantamweight belt against Angky Angkotta, of Jakarta, Indonesia, emerging with a unanimous decision before his partisan fans at Plaza de Toros Rea, Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico.
Arce (59-6-1, 44 KOs) won, 118-110 on the cards of Alejandro Lopez Cid and Joe Garcia, and 117-111 on that of Adalaid Byrd to improve to 7-0-1 with five knockouts since last suffering defeat.
While still in the ring after the fight, which was televised on Fox Deportes’ Top Rank Live series, Arce looked into the cameras and held five fingers aloft, an indication of his having won that many titles in four divisions, with one of them being an interim belt.
Saturday night’s setback was the second for the 30-year-old Angkotta (25-6, 14 KOs) to Arce. The first one, in January of last year, ended via technical unanimous seventh-round decision, 60-54, twice, and, 58-56, for Arce after a clash of heads caused a cut over the right eye of Angkotta.
Arce’s initial triumph over Angkotta earned him the WBO’s vacant junior bantamweight belt and helped him to rebound from the loss to Nongqayi.
Arce then rose into the bantamweight and junior featherweight ranks, over which he went a combined, 3-0-1, with three stoppages.
In his next bout in May, Arce rose from a fourth-round knockdown to score a sensational, come-from-behind, 12th-round knockout of RING No. 9-rated, previously unbeaten Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (21-1-1, 18 KOs) for the WBO’s junior featherweight crown.
Arce’s win over Vazquez took place on the undercard of RING No. 1-rated pound-for-pound Manny Pacquiao’s unanimous decision over Shane Mosley in defense of his WBO belt, and was considered a major upset as it ended Vazquez’s run of five straight knockouts.
Arce followed that up with September’s fourth-round stoppage for revenge over Nongqayi, his effort entering him into the sweepstakes for a potential bout with THE RING’s No. 4 pound-for-pound WBO/WBC bantamweight titleholder Nonito Donaire (27-1, 18 KOs).
Donaire is now, apparently, in line to face Vazquez on pay per view in Las Vegas on Feb. 11.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com