By Cliff Rold
34-year old former four-division beltholder and lineal 108 lb. champion Jorge Arce (64-7-2, 49 KO) of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, made it three straight stoppage wins since returning from a brief retirement following a knockout loss to Nonito Donaire in 2012 with an eighth round stoppage of 35-year old former title challenger Jorge Lacierva (41-10-6, 27 KO) of Mexico City, Mexico, on Saturday night at the Arena Jorge Cuesy Serrano, Tuxtla Gutierrez in Chiapas, Mexico.
Fighting at Featherweight, Arce was slower than he was in his prime but showed he continues to be too much when matched with the careful levels of opposition that have marked most of his career between bad losses to upper echelon fighters.
Both men weighed in at the division limit of 126 lbs. The referee was Miguel Canul.
Arce came to fight, as he always does. The same wasn’t always the case for Lacierva who mixed in ample grappling and with spots of offense. Pointing to and favoring his left shoulder, Lacierva was in bad shape from early on. Arce broke through with a knockdown in the fourth round, dropping Lacierva with a short left to the ribs to draw a count. He gave that point, and another, back before the round was over. Canul deducted Arce twice for hitting on the break.
The boo birds came out as the fight progressed, their venom aimed at the negative tactics of Lacierva and the overall ugliness of the fight. Arce, cut over the right eye, kept pressing and appeared downright angry with the tactics of his foe. With little to offer, the corner of Lacierva called a halt to their man’s one-armed outing before the start of the eighth round.
The win sets up a likely challenge of WBC Featherweight titlist Jhonny Gonzalez (56-8, 47 KO) and a chance for Arce to win a belt in a fifth weight division. Nothing Gonzalez saw Saturday night should have him too concerned.
In a huge step up win, 28-year old 2008 Puerto Rican Olympian McJoe Arroyo (15-0, 8 KO), 115, of Fajardo, Puerto Rico, scored knockdowns in the first, third, eight, and finally eleven en route to an eleventh round stoppage of 25-year old former WBA Flyweight titlist Hernan “Tyson” Marquez (37-5, 26 KO), 115, of Empalme, Sonora, Mexico, in an IBF eliminator at 115 lbs. It was a big step up and near flawless outing for Arroyo who had previously never been past the eighth round. Marquez suffers his third stoppage loss in his last six starts. The referee was Gary Ritter.
The battle of southpaws wasn’t even a minute old when a straight left from Arroyo sent Marquez to the deck after some tense feeling out. Marquez rose and nodded to go on, the action resuming in the measured fashion of a typical opening round, Arroyo opening up more in the closing seconds and showing off his edge in speed offensively and defensively, slipping a last second assault from the veteran.
Marquez started the second with a series of body shots, his hands high around the head on defense. Arroyo, working off the jab, remained the quicker man and blocked the right hook of Marquez well. The Puerto Rican’s finesse seemed to have Marquez confused, his guns too often in the holster.
An exchange to open the third ended with a right hook connecting for Marquez, his best shot of the fight to then. Outside some decent body shots, Marquez’s struggle to find his offense continued and his hole on the scorecards widened. After blocking much of an offensive series from Marquez, Arroyo responded with a perfect counter right hook to put Marquez on his back. Marquez beat the count and the bell rang before Arroyo could test how hurt his man was.
Arroyo maintained his edge in the next two rounds, boxing beautifully and patiently against a Marquez already showing some signs of desperation. Wide haymakers missed the mark while Arroyo pecked away with exact counters.
Arroyo showed will to go with his skill in round six, firing back as Marquez came forward with his best work of the fight. Taking the best Marquez could give to the head and body, Arroyo fired back in the trenches. Marquez would have similar spots in round seven, but his output was less and Arroyo moved his head to become a tougher target.
In round eight, it was simply target practice. Unable to avoid the fight hand of Arroyo or anything else the former Olympian had in his arsenal, Marquez took a pasting and suffered his third knockdown of the fight. With time to spare, Marquez managed to avoid the floor again but the energy, the class, the snap was all coming from the other direction.
Fans of Marquez got a moment’s relief in the tenth when, after taking some hard shots in the corner, he launched a hook and a tangle of feet sent Arroyo to the floor. Ritter rightly waved it off as a slip and Arroyo resumed control.
In the eleventh, a vicious right uppercut sent Marquez to his back and Marquez was in trouble. A follow up attack, focused to the body, was all Ritter needed to see to end what had been a one-sided affair. The time of the stoppage was :47 second of round eleven.
The IBF title at 115 lbs. is currently vacant, to be contested between Zolani Tete (18-3, 16 KO) and Teiru Kinoshita (19-0-1, 3 KO) on July 18th. Arroyo looks like a serious threat to whomever the winner turns out to be. Arroyo’s twin brother McWilliams (14-1, 12 KO), also a 2008 Olympian, fights in an IBF eliminator at 112 lbs. on Thursday versus Froilan Saludar (19-0-1, 12 KO), giving the pair a chance for a powerful five-day bookend.
The Bantamweight division got the televised portion of the evening off to a hot start with a grueling battle.
27-year old Alejandro Hernandez (28-10-2, 15 KO), 118, of Mexico City, Mexico, used a first round knockdown and a solid finish to propel himself towards a crack at WBO Bantamweight titlist Tomoki Kameda with a unanimous twelve-round decision over 24-year old Daniel Rosas (17-2-1, 11 KO), 118, of Mexico City, Mexico. It was the second consecutive defeat for Rosas after a stoppage loss to former IBF 115 lb. titlist Rodrigo Guerrero in February. Hernandez wins his third straight.
Hernandez had Rosas in trouble less than a minute into the first round, a double left hook sending a wobbly Rosas into the ropes. Hernandez pressed the attack, piling on and finding a big right hand to send Rosas to the floor. Rosas beat the count and covered up as Hernandez came forward, surviving the round and firing back with everything he had down the stretch of the opening frame.
As the second round unfolded, it was Rosas on the front foot and pressing the action. The veteran Hernandez backed off, looking for a big counter against the anxious younger man. As the round wore on, the tactic began to pay off for Hernandez, Rosas walking into shots as Hernandez worked off the ropes.
The momentum of the fight began to shift in round three, Rosas maintaining the pressure of round two but landing more. The action remained much the same in the next four rounds, all closely contested. In round six, Hernandez’s counters became more exacting again but Rosas was more active and neither was missing much.
Showing signs of fatigue, Rosas took heavy shots in rounds eight and nine. With Rosas already bleeding from the mouth, Hernandez drew blood from the nose of Rosas in round nine. Rosas was undeterred going into the tenth, digging even deeper and pouring it on as the left eye of Hernandez swelled. A right hand in the corner in the closing seconds of the tenth could have sent a less determined man down but Hernandez responded with a winging blow to keep Rosas honest.
After an excellent rally in the tenth, it was Rosas forced to endure in round eleven as Hernandez came out with renewed purpose. Rosas lost his mouthpiece in the last minute and tumbled to the floor on a slip after an extended stretch without it, a reprieve in the closing seconds of the round. With three minutes to go, it still looked like anyone’s fight.
In round twelve, it was Hernandez pressing the action as both men’s faces showed the wear of a brutal encounter. Rosas danced and shuffled his feet inside the final minute, Hernandez responding by pelting him in the mouth with a right to initiate an exchange. Hernandez found another right before the round was over but neither man would fall and it went to the cards.
The final two rounds may have sealed it for Hernandez who was awarded scores of 116-111, 114-113 and 117-110 to win the interim WBO belt at Bantamweight and a likely shot down the road at full honors for that title. The current WBO Bantamweight titlist, Japan’s Tomoki Kameda (29-0, 18 KO), is currently scheduled to defend his crown against Pungluang Sor Singyu (46-2, 31 KO) on July 12th.
Hernandez is 0-1-1 in his previous title attempts, losing a decision for the WBO Flyweight belt to Omar Narvaez in 2008 and earning a draw for the then-vacant WBO belt at 115 lbs. against Marvin Sonsona in 2009.
The card was broadcast in the US on Azteca America and BeIn Espanol, promoted by Zanfer Promotions.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org