By Cliff Rold
With three knockdowns on the night, 33-year old Jhonny Gonzalez (57-8, 48 KO) of Mexico City, Mexico, dominated and forced a mercy stoppage of 35-year Jorge Arce (64-8-2, 49 KO) in eleven rounds on Saturday night at the Cancha de Usos Multiples Praderas de Villa in Arce’s hometown of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. It was Gonzalez’s second defense in his second reign as WBC Featherweight titlist.
Arce was attempting to win a belt in his fifth weight class after titles at Jr. Flyweight, Jr. Bantamweight, Bantamweight, and Jr. Featherweight. He also held an interim belt at Flyweight. Arce claimed after the fight to be entering retirement again, a claim he made after a knockout loss to Nonito Donaire in 2012. Arce was back in less than a year. Time will tell if retirement sticks this time around.
Both men weighed in at the division limit of 126 lbs. The referee was Johnny Callas.
The first round saw each man trying to figure out the geography of the fight, Arce popping jabs from range looking for room to attack and Gonzalez laying in wait to counter. The shorter, of height and arm length, Arce struggled to get close and found most of blows falling well short of the mark. Late in the round, Arce landed a short shot to the head. Gonzalez stepped forward and dug to the body.
Action heated up in the second and it worked to Gonzalez’s favor. While he took some right hands from Arce, and some blows to the body, his jab and combinations carried the frame. With about a minute to go, a shot had Arce’s legs unsteady and in the closing seconds Gonzalez did good work with Arce’s back to the ropes.
A clash of heads cut Arce over the left eye in the third and that was only one negative for him. Attempting to tie up Gonzalez repeatedly and twisting at the arms in the clinch, Gonzalez finally got tired of it and used Arce’s momentum against him to fling him to the mat. Complaining between initiating fouls of his own, Arce went back to trying for rough clinches and paid for it. In an exchange of left hooks, Gonzalez’s got there first and sent Arce hard to the floor with seconds to go in the round.
Arce beat the count and came out attacking in the fourth. He stayed on the front foot for much of the round, landing some solid blows but also eating some heavy counters. Late in the round, a Gonzalez right hand briefly stunned Arce but just missed full contact.
Having some success in the fifth, Arce continued to press the action and landed some lefts and right that got Gonzalez’s attention. It didn’t end well in the frame though, Arce felled near the ropes with another left hand that had him hurt. Arce rose again and made the bell.
No longer circling as furiously as he had earlier, Arce came out in a defensive posture as Gonzalez brought the attack to him. Offering little more than token offense and daring taunts for Gonzalez to walk into a saving shot, Arce fell deeper into the hole with no answers emerging.
An exhausted Arce lost his mouthpiece in a clinch in round seven and was booed at home for complaining of rabbit punches in the eighth. He offered little in the way of offense and looked like he was in survival and prayer mode with four to go.
Lazy in a clinch in round nine, Arce was blasted with a left and dropped for the third time in the fight. He got up complaining and talked trash to Gonzalez, taunting him to step in and exchange. Gonzalez just kept about his business and finished winning another round. Angry between rounds, Arce was still talking as the tenth got underway. Gonzalez kept replying in leather.
Losing his mouthpiece again in round eleven, Arce was warned he could lose points for the offense. As the round progressed, it was clear Arce had nothing to offer. After one Gonzalez combination too many, Callas stepped in and halted the one sided affair at 2:43 of round eleven.
The chief support bout featured a former two-division titlist who is nearing the end of the line.
22-year old Jr. Lightweight Adrian Estrella (19-0, 17 KO), 130, of Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, scored two knockdowns in the fifth, one in the tenth, and a fourth in round eleven en route to a unanimous decision over 38-year old former WBA/IBF Jr. Featherweight and WBA Featherweight titlist Celestino Caballero (37-6, 24 KO), 130, of Panama City, Panama.
Caballero came into the bout rated eighth by the WBC at Featherweight. Estrella entered rated tenth by the WBC at Jr. Lightweight. The referee was Julio Cesar Mariscal.
Estrella was quicker and sharper from early on, selectively attacking and forcing Caballero back when he did. As is typical, the cagey Caballero made a hard target. The fight kept at a deliberate pace, until a body shot and right uppercut put Caballero in serious trouble in the fifth. Dropped and stunned, Caballero made it to his feet only to be dropped again with a right hand inside the final thirty seconds. Caballero rose and survived into the bell.
Showing his veteran chops, Caballero used his minute’s rest well and posted a rebound round in the sixth. Snapping the right and digging well to the body, Estrella was being forced to work one round after seemingly having it near over.
By the seventh, the fight had returned largely to form with Caballero boxing and Estrella making the fight in spots. In the tenth, Estrella landed a left hook that rocked Caballero, who stumbled into the ropes and was ruled knocked down. Unhurt, Caballero fought on but was hurt again by an attack in the eleventh, dropped on what appeared to be a right hand at the end of a flurry.
Caballero kept his feet in the final round but no saving bomb could alter the inevitable. Estrella picked up the best win of his young career by scores of 115-109 and 117-107 twice. Estrella can expect a bump in the WBC ratings with the impressive win. The current WBC champion at 130 lbs. is Japan’s Takashi Miura (27-2-2, 20 KO).
Caballero was making his first start since November 2013 and has now lost four of his last seven contests dating to late 2010.
The televised opener featured a pair of spirited Jr. Lightweights. What it didn’t feature was a winner. For eight rounds, 24-year old Edgar Monarrez (18-2-1, 12 KO), 130, of Torreon, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Mexico, and 21-year old Adrian Young (19-1-2, 15 KO), 130, of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, lit into each other without figuring out who was the better man. Following the bout, the ring announcer failed to read the scores and simply announced a draw.
The referee was Julio Cesar Mariscal.
The card was broadcast in the US on BeIn Espanol, promoted by Zanfer and Promociones del Pueblo.
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 [email protected]