Jhonny Gonzalez stretched his win streak to five in a row Saturday evening in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, casually defeating Jorge “El Travieso” Arce in the process. The stoic nature of Gonzalez’s pasting of the veteran made it seem as if Arce was merely an afterthought in the bout.
Gonzalez, now 57-8 (48 KO), fought cautiously throughout the fight, only opening up in spots, and when it appeared to be totally safe to do so. It wasn’t until round 3 that Gonzalez got his dander up, and he hip-tossed Arce to the canvas before decking him moments later, right before the bell rang. Arce’s left eye incurred a cut at some point in the round, worsening matters for him. Somehow pulling himself together to fight back in round 4, Arce was again put down in the 5th, and this time harder, as evidenced by Arce spitting his mouthpiece out.
Somehow Arce, 64-8-2 (49 KO) and 1 no contest, endured. That became the pattern: Gonzalez punishing, reluctantly, and Arce living through it.
Arce was not coming out unscathed, however, and he began clinching inside much more willingly as Gonzalez attacked his body with hooks in rounds 6 and 7. Rounds 8 and 9 then saw Arce complaining about borderline fouls before tasting canvas once more in the 9th.
Up and playing the part of the willing brawler, Arce smacked his gloves together, welcoming Gonzalez into a potential trap, but the latter wouldn’t bite; Gonzalez kept his distance with a thoughtful jab, and began lining Arce up for right hands, most of which fell short. The end was in sight, however, and in round 11, Arce spit out his mouthpiece and simultaneously grabbed his shoulder, as if suggesting he was injured, and referee Johnny Callas moved in to bring a halt to the proceedings.
Wasting no time, before any official announcement could be made, Arce addressed the Televisa audience, saying that he was choosing to retire after a long and successful career, happy to have his last fight against a champion like Gonzalez.
The win brings Gonzalez to 17-1 in the last five years, and deposits a name onto his record, which has stalled somewhat despite mopping up Abner Mares at the start of 2013. After the bout, Gonzalez suggested that he had taken pity on Arce, deciding not to push hard for a tough stoppage out of respect, and a lack of desire to hurt an essentially helpless opponent.
When Gonzalez vs. Arce was finalized, so was the outcome of the featherweight bout. Very few talking heads within the confines of this fistic psychosis expected a win from Arce, but being able to last longer than numerous other Gonzalez victims is a feather in the cap of an entertaining fighter. Whether the retirement sticks or not is a different matter.
In the co-feature, junior lightweight Adrian “Diamante” Estrella won a unanimous decision over Celestino “Pelenchin” Caballero in what was often a sloppy, awkward fight.
Estrella, 19-0 (17 KO), appeared strong from the outset, clawing at Caballero early on before using his legs to slide away. In round 5, Caballero went down twice from a combination of getting punched in the face and looking every day of his 38 years — in his legs, at least.
Caballero managed to bravely fight back, and even wrest control of the fight temporarily in a few rounds. Caballero’s jab and strange movement even impressed in rounds 6, 7 and 8, with Estrella either exhausted or hurt to the body in the 6th.
Mauling paid off in round 9, as Caballero was again served notice of his own age before being ruled down again in the 10th. Arguing the official calls every step of the way, once more Caballero couldn’t keep himself upright, and Estrella was tipped another point for a knockdown in round 11.
Unsurprisingly, Estrella didn’t look particularly good against Caballero. Few do, however, and the fight should likely be marked as a learning experience for Estrella, who was only given seven rounds (plus knockdowns) on one card. Showing up in terrific shape is a good sign, though, and assuming Orlando Salido sticks around for a while, that match up’s contract could be inked in blood.
It should likely be the end of the road for Caballero, 37-6 (24 KO). In the last decade, he’s averaged two fights a year, and his legs — which usually look frail and spidery, as is — looked to be failing him throughout the bout.