MANILA, Philippines – Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire Jr. vowed a knockout win and he delivered Sunday (Manila time).
Donaire (31-1, 20 KOs) floored Mexican warrior Jorge Arce (61-7-2, 46 KOs) with a counter left hook as the referee stopped the fight at the 2:59 mark of the third round. The pro-Arce crowd at the Toyota Center in Houston Texas was left stunned.
The 30-year-old Donaire, who retained his WBO super bantamweight title, dropped Arce for the first time in the second round with a short right hand but the Mexican was able to get back to his feet.
Arce showed fight in round three as he was able to close the distance to land blows to the body but that was it as Donaire outclassed him.
Donaire, who was greeted with a chorus of boos on his way to the ring, chalked up his fourth win this year alone and his 30th straight victory overall.
Both fighters sized each other up in the opening round with Donaire getting his points with his crisp jabs.
“I went out and pretty much timed him,” Donaire said. “We wanted to slow him down and get him thinking he could get in there. We knew he would open up.”
“I’ve never really gone and hit with the left hook, but I knew I was going to go out there and give it everything, no matter what.”
Donaire improved to 31-1 with his 20th career knockout. He has not lost since the second fight of his career back in 2001.
The victory brought some joy for Filipino fight fans still stunned at Manny Pacquiao’s knockout loss a week ago to Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez.
“There were a lot of fans who were like, ‘You have got to get him. This is for the Philippines.’ I hope they can be proud of what I did,” Donaire said.
Arce, 33, fell to 61-7 with two drawn bouts, in what he said was the final fight of his career.
“My career is over. I’m leaving after losing to the best man,” Arce said. “He is very good. He has power. He can finish the fight at any moment.
“I promised my family if I lost I would leave. I retire to go home and watch the fights on TV.”
Donaire scored a knockdown of Arce with a powerful straight right hand about a minute into the second round, forcing the challenger to touch his gloves and a knee to the canvas.
Donaire, 30, again knocked Arce to the canvas with a pair of left hooks late in the second round and, in the third, landed the knockout blow to end it.
“I got him with a straight right and the counter hook came in after that,” Donaire said.
Donaire had beaten South African Jeffrey Mathebula last July and Japan’s Toshiaki Nishioka in October in prior title defenses after taking the vacant crown with a split decision last February over Puerto Rico’s Wilfredo Vazquez.
Arce had nine wins and a draw since last being beaten, by South African Simphiwe Nongqayi in 2009.