HOUSTON – Mutual respect will always be there for Nonito Donaire Jr. and Jorge Arce.
But expect them to throw caution to the wind once they go face-to-face in the ring on Saturday night (Sunday, Manila time) at the Toyota Center here.
Donaire stakes his World Boxing Organization (WBO) super-bantamweight title against Arce in a 12-round bout pitting two of the best fighters in the 122-lb. division today.
Cordial as they may be to each other during the final presser for the fight on Wednesday, the challenger vowed to pull off boxing’s new surprise, just a week after fellow Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez stunned favored rival Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas.
“I want to tell you that what happened last Saturday to Pacquiao-Marquez is gonna happen again,” Arce, wearing fancy shades and an all black track suit, said at the podium.
“I’m the new surprise,’ added the 33-year-old native of Los Mochis, Sinaloa (61-6-2).
Not to be outdone, the champion vowed to turn on the heat during the showdown.
“I don’t know Houston was this cold,” said the 'Filipino Flash,' taking note of the chilly Texas weather that reached 12 degrees Celsius three days before fight night.
“But I can guarantee you, this Saturday it will be hot in here, that I can guarantee you.”
It will be the fourth fight this year for Donaire – and the third defense of the WBO crown – the first three of which he won over the likes of Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., Jeffrey Mathebula, and Toshiaki Nishioka.
There’s no doubt, however, Arce is the biggest name and his toughest opponent of them all.
Donaire (30-1, with 19 KOs) considers the 33-year-old Mexican from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, "a legend."
“Arce is a tremendous fighter. He’s been there for the longest time,” said the 30-year-old Donaire, unbeaten since 2001. “I am prepared for everything because the fact that I respect the man. When I do respect somebody, I want to fight them.”
A noted brawler, Arce is also fighting for the fourth time this year, owning victories over Lorenza Parra and Mauricio Martinez, and one no-contest with Jesus Rojas in the undercard of the Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley title fight.
The veteran Mexican considers the Filipino a great friend, but he said he will put everything on hold for at least 36 minutes - or less - on Saturday.
And Donaire says it best. “One thing that Arce and I both agree on is that this fight will not go the distance.”