Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
What had been shaping up to be a classic brawl between two of boxing’s greatest rival nations – Puerto Rico and Mexico – ended in anti-climax as Jorge Arce and Jesus Rojas left the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas on Saturday, June 9 with a no contest on their record. An electric opening session was countered swiftly in the next as, ten seconds into round two, an illegal move resulted in an Arce injury, something that Rojas refuses to believe…
Official verdict: No contest.
“I put him down in the first round and then with my experience I was dominating him,” said experienced and fan-friendly Arce (60-6-2, 46ko) to HBO.
The knockdown struck by Arce in the first stanza, though, led to a competitive scuffle and those at ringside collectively – and rightly – assumed a barnburner was about to erupt. However, ten seconds into round two, Arce was on the canvas and was granted a five minute respite as he was effectively dropped with a four punch combination with each shot as illegal as the last (a clash of heads, a low blow, a shot to the kidney and a left hook to the ear when his back was turned).
It was the punch to the ear that did the most damage as Arce explained: “He hit me and I heard booming sounds. I understand his anxiety made him act that way. He hit me behind the ear, I feel like I’m falling sideways but with the ice I’m feeling better. This fight can’t end this way, we’ll do this again. We’ll have a rematch.”
Rojas (18-1-1, 13ko) did not accept Arce’s side of the story and believes the Sinaloa slugger was looking for an escape route. The 25-year-old said: “It is unfortunate, I came here to fight… yes, he put me down but I wanted to fight. The referee didn’t intervene at any moment and I hit him in the face. I threw a punch and that was it. The referee never intervened. [Arce is] a coward, he didn’t come to fight.”
On his decision to stop the contest, renowned referee Kenny Bayliss stated that Arce “got hit with an unintentional low blow. I gave him the full five minutes, he complained about his ear, I called the doctor in and he said he could not continue.”