Lee Groves

10: Best Mexico vs. Puerto Rico fights

7. Jorge Arce KO 12 Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. — May 7, 2011, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada

Like his Mexican counterpart Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., “WV2” was the son of a former three-division champion who was still looking to break out of his father’s shadow. With no amateur career, Vazquez had done exceedingly well – a 20-0-1 (17 KOs) record, the WBO super bantamweight belt and two successful defenses. The Arce match not only represented a step up in class but also a chance to add a big name to his resume on a pay-per-view stage topped by Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley.

Arce knew what Vazquez was going through. Twelve years earlier he was the rising hotshot looking to add Michael Carbajal’s aging scalp to his mantle. But after building a huge lead on the scorecards and slicing up Carbajal’s battle-scarred face, he fell victim to one final burst from “Manitas de Piedra” in the 11th. Now he was looking to return that favor to Vazquez.

With his status as a marquee fighter on the line Arce was all business as he entered the arena without his trademark cowboy hat and lollipop. A forceful hook to the jaw two minutes into the fight served notice to Vazquez just how serious he was. Vazquez turned aggressor in the second and tried his best to impose his natural size advantage, but Arce was more than equal to the task as they tore into each other at close quarters. Arce’s scar tissue cracked in round three around the bridge of the nose and faced yet another adversity at the fourth round bell after being dropped by a hook.

From the fifth through the ninth both men unloaded their full arsenals. Not only were the exchanges thrilling but they also were skillful. By the 10th Arce’s pressure began to break the younger champion and in the 11th the effects were obvious as Vazquez held far more than he punched.

With the fight even on two cards and Vazquez somehow leading by five on the third, Arce emptied his guns in the 12th. More than 60 punches rained down on the spent shell that was Vazquez, who either wouldn’t or couldn’t clinch. With 55 seconds gone in the final round Vazquez Sr. — knowing the dangerous places Arce was taking his son — had seen enough and signaled his surrender.

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