By Jake Donovan
Rejuvenated super bantamweight titlist Jorge Arce made the first defense of his belt with a revenge-fueled fourth-round knockout of Simphiwe Nongqayi on Saturday evening at Foro Promo Casa in Mexicali, BC, Mexico.
The official time was 2:01 of the 4th round of their Fox Deportes-televised main event.
Arce had a lot riding on this bout, which was a rematch to their September ’09 super flyweight title fight which ended miserably for the wildly popular Mexican and his fighting family. Nongqayi handily won their first meeting to not only win a title belt, but also score his second win of the year against the Arce family, having topped his brother Francisco Arce earlier in the year.
What a difference two years can make for both fighters. Arce hasn’t lost since, riding a six-fight unbeaten streak into Saturday’s contest. Conversely, the career-best win for Nongqayi was his last, as he was hoping to end a two-fight winless skid while also returning after a 14-month hiatus.
It wasn’t going to happen on this night, as Arce fought like a man on a mission. The former reality star came out throwing in the opening round, sending the South African to the canvas with a right hand, left hook combination late in the frame. Nongqayi was on wobbly legs as he beat the count, but managed to move and eventually clinch his way out of the round.
The 32-year old Arce hardly looked his age and seemed fresher as the fight went along. Nongq ayi appeared stuck in the mud in comparison, fighting off of his front foot and was constantly off balance as he struggled to defend against his far more active foe.
Action slowed in the third, which served to Nongqayi’s benefit. The former super flyweight titlist held his own when the two fought on the inside, trading body shots and tying up Arce when necessary. The strategy worked for about half of the round, until Arce grew wise to the game and created just enough distance to get proper leverage on his punches.
A rally was thwarted when Nongqayi’s mouthpiece became dislodged late in the round, but proved to be well worth the wait – though not before the type of dramatic moment that seems to accompany every Arce fight. A clash of heads left the three-division titlist with a nasty gash along the top of his forehead, a sequence that earned Nongqayi a stern warning from referee Rafael Ramos.
Much as was the case when Arce toppled Hussein Hussein in their first fight more than six years ago, the blood served as a motivator to expedite matters and get his opponent the hell out of there. A flurry of punches had Nongqayi in serious trouble, but the referee let the action go as the two were still trading, even if Arce was getting the better of the exchanges.
The end finally came when a series of head shots forced Nongqayi to pitch forward and fold over while keeping his hands glued to his head. Arce continued to throw and land, but only until Ramos jumped in to end the onslaught.
Arce picks up his third straight knockout as he moves to 58-6-2 (45KO) in his wild and incredible career. Nongqayi is now winless in three straight bouts, falling to 16-2-1 (6KO).
The win is Arce’s first since scoring a dramatic 12th round upset knockout win of previously unbeaten Wilfred Vazquez Jr this past May in a fight that served as the chief support to Manny Pacquiao’s 12-round win over an uninspiring and faded Shane Mosley.
It wasn’t hard for the all-action Mexican to steal the show that evening, but the manner in which he won went a long way towards lending validity to his latest unbeaten streak. The win over Nongqayi helps erase one embarrassing moment in recent past, when he looked flat and nearly done as a prizefighter when they met two years ago.
More troubling for Arce than the loss itself that night was the fact that he failed to avenge a similarly disappointing performance turned in earlier that year by his brother Francisco against the very same fighter. Two years later, he can rest that much easier, knowing that a significant piece of the family name has been restored.
The late surge in Arce’s career comes at the perfect time, as he also hopes to avenge past losses against Vic Darchinyan and Cristian Mijares, both of whom are not only once again relevant, but also campaigning just one division north at bantamweight.
Also mentioned is a possible return go with Vazquez Jr early next year.
Whatever the future has in store, Arce can take great comfort that it comes on his terms and not as a high-profile B-side as someone else’s steppingstone.
In the televised opener, Victor Terrazas (31-2-1, 18KO) racked up his sixth straight win with a fourth round knockout of countryman Eduardo Becerril (12-10-2, 4KO). Terrazas landed a barrage of right hands in the fight-ending sequence, including a jaw-jarring right uppercut that prompted the referee to intervene at 2:12 of the fourth round.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com.