By Jake Donovan
Serving in a supporting capacity on a major fight card comes with its good and bad points. The downside is that the majority of the attention will be paid to the main event players, if not specifically one fighter if he’s deemed to be that much bigger than the rest of the sport.
The upside to that, however, is that it gives the undercard fighters a chance to steal the show.
Jorge Arce (60-6-2, 46KO) has made a career out of turning heads regardless of where he is placed on a show. At one point left for dead career-wise, the free-swinging Mexican boxing hero managed to become the talk of the town the last time he appeared on an undercard to a Manny Pacquiao-headlined event.
He also managed to resuscitate his career in the process, scoring a dramatic 12th round knockout of Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. on a night where Pacquiao topped Shane Mosley in a 12-round bout that bored the viewing audience to tears.
Arce’s win over Vazquez Jr. was yet another classic entry into the long-running in-ring rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico. Tonight’s event handlers Top Rank hope to add another chapter to the series, when Arce faces Jesus Rojas in a 10-round non-title fight just above the super bantamweight limit.
“Jorge Arce is never, ever in a bad fight,” Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum said of the four-division titlist who is coming off of a vacant bantamweight title fight rematch win over Angky Angkota last November. “His performance (tonight) will be so enjoyable and so exciting. It will be another chapter in the great history of fights between Puerto Rico and Mexico.”
There’s no question that the 32-year old is up for the challenge, both what awaits him in the opposite corner as well as once again finding a way to steal some of the spotlight from Pacquiao.
“It’s very exciting to be the co-feature once again for Manny Pacquiao,” notes Arce. “I’m very motivated because I know Pacquiao will be watched around the world, and if he’s watched around the world then so will I.”
Rojas (18-1-1, 13KO) was more direct in his take on tonight’s fight. The Puerto Rican is all business as he prepares for by far the biggest challenge of his young career.
“We trained really hard for this fight because we know we’re up against Travieso Arce,” acknowledges Rojas. “We’re confident in victory and this will be a huge win for Puerto Rico.”
Arce knows what a win on Saturday will lead to, but also that everything does in fact begin with… a win on Saturday.
“I want Nonito Donaire, Orlando Salido, all of the top fighters at this weight,” Arce says of a region of divisions (super bantamweight and featherweight) exploding with talent. “Before we go to the second step, we go to the first step which is Saturday night.
“I know Jesus Rojas is coming to fight and I will give a great fight on Saturday. I’m ready for war. If he’s not ready then it’s going to be a quick night and I’m going to eat afterward.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments via e-mail.