Photos by Sumio Yamada
JORGE ARCE vs ROSENDO ALVAREZ
The flyweight division, believe it or not, is currently one of the most exciting in boxing, in no small measure due to the stirring fights produced by Jorge Travieso" Arce. The sawn-off slugger from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, is one of my favourite fighters the first of Arces two fights with Hussein Hussein, bloody and breathtaking, was one of the greatest I have seen involving the little men of the ring.
Arce heads into another potential war when he meets Nicaraguas Rosendo Alvarez in a 12-round title bout that is the chief supporting fight to the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Zab Judah attraction.
This fight mirrors the main event in that a Bob Arum-promoted fighter (that would be Arce) meets a Don King boxer.
There has been ill will between the boxers, stemming from an incident at Cancun, Mexico, in January. Arce had just overpowered the Nicaraguan veteran Adonis Rivas in six rounds in their rematch, Alvarez was in Rivass corner that night and Travieso" approached Alvarez in a confrontational way. Alvarez, who is not the type to back down, slapped Arces face. The WBCs Mauricio Sulaiman quickly intervened and the two fighters were kept apart.
The incident south of the border and the aggressive styles of the two fighters leads me to think that the 112-pounders might steal the show at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Arce is the clear favourite. He has won his last 24 fights in a row and at 26 he is the younger man by nine years. Alvarez, though, remains a formidable if aging fighter, a veteran of numerous world title fights at 105 and 108 pounds whose only loss in the last seven years was on a DQ for low blows.
Although Alvarez is having his first title fight at 112 pounds he was always considered a big fighter for the minimumweight and light-flyweight divisions and his struggles to make weight were well-known. He should be strong at 112 pounds, a weight at which I suspect he should have been fighting long ago in fact he boxed as a bantamweight in his last fight.
Arce provides action and drama, a fighting son of a gun" as promoter Bob Arum calls him, but Alvarez has been in compelling fights, too, particularly his rematch with the great Mexican light-flyweight Ricardo Lopez in Las Vegas. Lopez won by split decision and I remember Don King referring to the fighters afterwards as little giants their punches sounded like thunder".
Alvarez has always been a pressure fighter: tough, strong-willed and very hard to discourage.
In Arce he meets a fighter with a similar method and mindset, so I do not see how this can fail to be a fiercely fought contest.
Alvarez has had a wonderful career that includes winning two world title fights in Thailand not an easy thing to do. He won his first championship more than a decade ago, however, and he will be 36 next month. I have the feeling that there is a passing-of-the-torch look about this fight.
Arce is quite hittable and we all remember how badly he was sliced across the bridge of the nose in that initial fight with Hussein Hussein. If Alvarez can hit him with good shots to get himself into the fight and if he can, in boxings cruel vernacular, bust up Arce, the older man might have a real chance of upsetting the odds. Also, I still hear it said in boxing circles that Arce might not have the greatest chin in the world although it is more than six years since he was knocked out by the supposedly shot" Michael Carbajal.
Yet in a fight that figures to develop into a war of attrition one has to go with the younger man. Arces body punches, the relentless hooking and uppercutting, will, I think, slowly erode Alvarezs resistance until he is broken down and finally overwhelmed, though perhaps not until late in the fight.