By Jake Donovan
Among the many rivalries between boxing nations, few if any compare to the growing intensity between fans from Mexico and the Philippines.
The biggest factor in the rivalry is pound-for-pound superstar Manny Pacquiao, who has made a living out of scoring high profile wins over the best Mexican fighters in the prime and twilight of his career. The wildly popular Filipino is deep in training for his fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, one of four major matchups in the span of four weeks to pit the Philippines against Mexico.
Tonight’s matchup is a slight stretch in its series entry. Nevertheless, the headlining bout in Los Angeles kicks things off as Brian Viloria – a Fil-Am raised in Hawaii – takes on Mexico’s Hernan ‘Tyson’ Marquez in a flyweight title unification bout. The highly anticipated showdown airs live on Wealth TV in the United States and on Mexico Azteca for those watching from south of the border.
One interested – and biased - observer in the fight is four-division champ Jorge Arce, whose December 15 showdown with Nonito Donaire in Houston serves as the final of the four matchups between the two nations.
Arce has already vowed to shock the world in his fight. However, the Mexican reality TV star takes his predictions one step further, insisting that a Mexico sweep is in the cards, beginning with a Marquez win in tonight’s fight.
“My predictions: For Brian Viloria versus Tyson Marquez, the winner will be Tyson Marquez,” Arce (61-6-2, 46KO) confidently predicts of a flyweight bout widely viewed as a pick-‘em. “For Manny Pacquiao versus Juan Manuel Marquez, the winner will be Marquez.”
Naturally, he is fully confident that the series will end with his own arm raised in victory.
“For Nonito Donaire versus Jorge Arce, the winner will be Jorge Arce. I am going to knock him out,” Arce promises as the end result of the final HBO card of 2012.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox