Donaire To face Mexican Arce

MANILA, Philippines - Nonito Donaire will be short of visiting the lion's den when he returns to the ring in October.

Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum said Donaire will meet Mexican four-divison champion Jorce Arce in a 12-round title fight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The choice of the Staples Center as venue is a no-brainer considering Southern California is heavily populated by Mexicans.

While the Los Angeles area has a large concentration of Filipinos, it is considered as the second home of Mexicans and Arum is banking on the Hispanics' strong nationalistic fervor to make the fight a huge success.

Of course, Filipinos will likewise come in droves to show their support to Donaire, 29, but the vast majority of the 21,000 seats that fateful night will be filled by diehard Mexican fight fans of the colorful Arce.

Donaire (29-1-0 with 18 knockouts) is fresh from a masterful 12-round decision win over the outclassed South African Jeffrey Mathebula and is looking forward to the matchup with the rugged Arce (60-6-2 with 46 knockouts).

Meanwhile, Manny Pacquiao is expected to return to the US this week from his Europeam vacation to finalize the details of his next fight slated Nov. 10, Arum said yesterday.

Arum told the Bulletin that he will meet up with Pacquiao either Friday or Saturday.

"I understand that Manny's returning this Wednesday but I'll see him when I get back from the press tour for the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez fight," said Arum, who will join the promotional gig that will have stops in Los Angeles (July 10), Las Vegas (July 11), New York (July 12) and Mexico City (July 13).

Arum said he intends to close out a deal very soon.

Being eyed as opponents for Pacquiao are Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez.

Bradley is under contract to grant Pacquiao a direct rematch following his controversial 12-round split decision win over the Filipino last June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

But Pacquiao can afford not to exercise that option and face Marquez instead for the fourth time.

"We'll see when Manny gets back," said the 80-year-old Arum.

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