By Jake Donovan
Jorge Arce becomes the latest fighter to renege on promises of retirement, as he returned to the ring Saturday evening. The former four-division champ was high-octane in chopping down determined Colombian featherweight Jose Carmona in eight rounds Saturday evening in San Luis Potoni, Mexico.
Arce scored two knockdowns, including the fight-ending sequence which came at 1:49 of round eight.
The insistence that he was done forever after suffering a humiliating knockout against Nonito Donaire last December proved to be a typical boxing retirement story. It didn't take long for Arce to rediscover that fighting itch, and to his credit was highly motivated for his ring return Saturday evening.
An equally pleasant surprise was the resilience and determination of Carmona, who was stepping way up in class but at no point sought the quickest way towards the exit. Arce jumped on him early, in hopes of spooking his opponent in front of a partisan crowd. The threat of an early stoppage surfaced, but Carmona came roaring back with a combination that momentarily put Arce on the back of his heels in round three.
The sequence let the crowd know that a fight was breaking out. It also awoke a sleeping giant; Arce responded one round later, flooring Carmona for the first of two knockdowns on the evening.
Several exchanges were offered over the next few rounds. Arce was clearly getting the better of the moments, but Carmona still had his say and showed incredible punch resistance in stretching out the fight as long as he did without once getting on his bike.
Both fighters flirted with disqualification after exchanging punches well past the bell to end round seven. The referee had to intervene, warning Carmona for hitting on the break and after the bell, only for Arce to reach around the third man and throw a left at his opponent during said lecture.
Calmer heads prevailed as action resumed in the eighth round. Arce continued to swing for the fences in hopes of a knockout, and eventually had his wish come true. Carmona was defenseless against the ropes as a flurry forced him to the canvas. No count was offered, as the referee rightly waved off the fight the moment Carmona was no longer able to defend himself.
Arce improves to 62-7-2 (46KO) with the win, his first in well over a year. The 34-year old seemed a bit bloated at 126 lb., but - after having bounced around between weight classes over the past few years - will most likely grow into a division once he's settled in by next year.
Carmona's bravery should earn future TV fights. For now, he settles for his stock rising in defeat. A four-fight win streak comes to an end as he falls to 22-4 (12KO). The bout was just his second outside of Colombia, both fights resulting in the lone two knockout losses of his career.
In the televised co-feature, Carlos Diaz outpointed Angel Rodriguez over eight rounds in their matchup of unbeaten super featherweights.
Scores were 80-73, 80-74 and 79-75.
Diaz was on the favorable end of the majority of the exchanges over the course of the evening, but still had a fight on his hands. While the action was competitive, the difference was in preparation - Rodriguez was stepping up in class, while Diaz was barely a month removed from a decision win over another unbeaten prospect, Sergio Nunez last month in Tijuana.
While several of the even-scored rounds could have went to Rodriguez, the right winner was chosen in the end. Diaz improves to 12-0 (6KO), while Rodriguez loses for the first time in his career as he falls to 8-1 (4KO).
Opening up the telecast, local welterweight Uriel Hernandez managed a six-round majority decision over Ivan 'Drago' Ramirez. No scores were announced, but the decision was a bit suspect and not even his hometown fans seemed to fully embrace the official verdict.
Nevertheless, it goes in the books as a win for Hernandez, his 10th straight as he advances to 11-1 (6KO). Ramirez is now winless in his last three starts as his record dips to 5-2-0-1NC (2KO).
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox