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Jorge Arce defeats Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. for WBO super-bantamweight title

Photo: Jorge Arce connects to the face of Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. during their WBO super-bantamweight title fight on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images Veteran fighter Jorge Arce of Mexico won a thrilling 12th-round technical knockout over Miami’s Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. to take away Vazquez’s WBO super-bantamweight title to highlight the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley fight on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Arce (57-6-2, 44 KOs) unleashed a barrage of blows with Vazquez (20-1-1) backed against the ropes in the 12th round, and with the previously unbeaten fighter showing little response, his corner waved furiously to referee Joe Cortez to stop the fight.

Cortez didn’t see the request initially, even as a large bottle of water was tossed into the ring and Vazquez’s cornermen waved frantically.

Arce, who survived a knockdown just before the bell in the fourth round, jumped in celebration.

Former world middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik returned to the ring for the first time in 13 months after undergoing a stint for alcoholism at the Betty Ford Center and recorded a majority decision over a game Alfonso Lopez.

Judge C.J. Ross gave Pavlik a 99-91 edge while Dick Houck had him winning 98-92 and Adalaide Byrd scored the bout 95-95.

Pavlik (37-2) started slow but hurt Lopez (21-1) with his signature big right in the sixth round, jarring the Texan to the ropes. Lopez’s power disadvantage cost him as his occasional impressive combinations were washed out by Pavlik’s more hurtful rights, especially one in the 10th round that was set up by a stiff jab.

Denver’s unbeaten super-lightweight Mike Alvarado stopped New York’s Ray Narh after the third round when Narh refused to continue. Narh said he wasn’t feeling well after suffering through a daylong stomach illness.

Alvarado (30-0, 22 KOs) said he “was just getting started” after belting Narh (25-2) with some hard rights in the second and third rounds.

Jose Benavidez, perhaps the top prospect in Top Rank’s stable, recorded a fifth-round technical knockout of South Carolina’s James Hope to improve to 11-0 with 10 knockouts.

--Lance Pugmire

Photo: Jorge Arce connects to the face of Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. during their WBO super-bantamweight title fight on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

 
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