Mexican junior bantamweight Tomas Rojas said Wednesday that he took a dive against Jorge Arce in 2007 in exchange for 100,000 pesos. The Ring’s number five junior bantam said that he was only offered the fight against Arce on the condition that he go down in the 6th, but that he never saw the money.
“The original deal was that if I could knock him out in the first six rounds, there would be no problem but after six I’d have to take a dive and lose,” Rojas told Veracruz newspaper Notiver.
Rojas (37-13-1) and his promoter Zanfer originally denied that he’d said anything of the sort and were looking into a defamation suit, but Rojas admitted yesterday that he’d made the comments. He accused the journalist, Pedro Muñoz, of publishing comments that were made off the record.
Jorge Arce, for his part, denied any knowledge of the events: “I don’t know what he’s talking about. I don’t know what he’s referring to. I’m at peace with my career. I simply fight who the put in front of me. Nobody told me anything and if they had told me he was going to take a dive, I wouldn’t have trained. If he fixed the fight, that’s his problem and he’s an idiot for accepting.”
Whatever the problems of journalistic ethics that might surround the interview, this is certainly disturbing news. While none of us would be so naïve as to believe that corruption does not exist in professional boxing, the possibility that a title fight (however minor the title) in Las Vegas promoted by Top Rank and Mexico’s biggest promotional firm was fixed is a cause for concern. At a minimum it raises more questions than it provides answers. Questions that Rojas, Arce and their promoters should be made to answer in the coming days.