Nonito Donaire vs. Fernando Montiel and the Top 10 Can't Miss Fights in February

First LastCorrespondent IJanuary 31, 2011

Nonito Donaire vs. Fernando Montiel and the Top 10 Can't Miss Fights in February

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    Photo by Top Rank

    After a shallow month of boxing capped off by a somewhat disappointing Devon Alexander vs. Timothy Bradley mega-fight, February will take similar steps in featuring another significant middle-of-the-month fight in Nonito Donaire vs. Fernando Montiel.

    Donaire has been sitting atop pound-for-pound lists for almost two years and is one of the boxing's most exciting fighters. He will be taking on Fernando Montiel, another pound-for-pound star ranked No. 1 in the bantamweight division.

    Both went undefeated in 2010; every fight won by knockout.

    Other must-win fights will feature Eddie Chambers and Arthur Abraham.

    It will be very important that they come back strong against their opponents. Chambers was knocked out by Wladimir Klitschko in March, and Abraham is riding a two-fight losing streak after being shutout by Carl Froch in the third round of the Super-Six Middleweight Tournament.

    Friday Night Fights will also be continuing to deliver quality fights. Fighters featured this month include Sergio Mora and Fernando Guerrero.

No. 1: Nonito Donaire Vs. Fernando Montiel

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    Fernando MontielKoichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

    Date: February 19

    Televised on HBO


    This fight promises to be explosive, and it has all the makings to deliver.

    Fernando Montiel has an extensive record of 44-2 with 34 knockouts. Nonito Donaire has a record of 25-1 with 17 knockouts including The Ring magazine's 2007 "Knockout of the Year" and "Upset of the Year" against Vic Darcinyan.

    Both fighters had a great 2010. Montiel went 4-0 with four knockouts that included Hozumi Hosegawa and Rafael Concepcion. Donaire was 3-0, all by knockout. He ended the year with a win over Volodymyr Sydorenko.

    If Bradley vs. Alexander was the super-boxing match, this is the super-fight.

No. 2: Brandon Rios Vs. Miguel Acosta

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Date: February 26

    Televised on Showtime


    Brandon Rios (26-0, 22 KO) was one of the biggest rising stars in 2010, and he hopes to build on that with his first challenge of 2011.

    His opponent, Miguel Acosta (28-3, 22 KO) will be looking to put a stop to all of the hype.

    A date with WBC lightweight champ Humberto Soto remains in the shadows of this fight and the winner will have definitely have his eyes on him.

    Chances of seeing a meeting between Rios and Soto are good for 2011.

No. 3: Jesus Soto Karass Vs. Mike Jones 2

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Date: February 19

    Televised on HBO on Montiel/Donaire undercard


    Undefeated Mike Jones (23-0) will be taking on Mexican welterweight Jesus Soto Karass (24-5) in a rematch of their first fight back in November. Jones won a majority decision that was somewhat controversial.

    Jones out-boxed Karass early before unleashing an endless assault of punches in the second round, which left him spent for the rest of the fight.

    Expect to see a lot of improvement in Jones for this fight.

No. 4: Sergio Mora Vs. Bryan Vera

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Date: February 4

    Televised on ESPN 2 Friday Night Fights


    This may end up being one of the biggest mismatches of the year, but Sergio Mora showed he can hang with some of the very best in his draw with Shane Mosley last September and deserves more attention.

    His record is 22-1 and includes solid wins over the late Vernon Forrest and Peter Manfredo Jr. His only loss was in a rematch against Forrest.

    Mora's opponent, Bryan Vera (17-5), was originally scheduled to fight Kelly Pavlik in November, but that fight was canceled after Pavlik pulled out a week before the fight. Vera is 1-4 in his last five.

No. 5: Steve Cunningham Vs. Enad Licina

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    Cunningham tags Tomasz AdamekAl Bello/Getty Images

    Date: February 12


    Originally scheduled for January 22, the fight now takes place in the middle of February. The IBF cruiserweight title will be on the line for this fight.

    Steve Cunningham is 23-2 with 12 knockouts. He will be facing Enad Licina, who is 19-2 with 10 knockouts.

    Cunningham's lone fight in 2010 was a fifth round technical knockout against Troy Ross.

    He has only fought twice in the last two years so it will be important that he wins this fight and continues to fight more regularly.

No. 6: Eddie Chambers Vs. Derric Rossy 2

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    Date: February 11

    Televised on Showtime

    "Fast" Eddie Chambers (35-2)  will be looking to rebound from his disaster in March that came at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko. Chambers was outclassed every round before being knocked unconscious in the final seconds of the last round.

    His opponent is Derric Rossy, (25-2) who is seeking revenge for a TKO loss by Chambers in 2007.

    Since then, he has gone 10-1 including a win over Ray Mercer in 2008. His other loss was to Alexander Dimitrenko.

No. 7: Arthur Abraham Vs. Stjepan Bozic

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    Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

    Date: February 12

    Arthur Abraham (31-2) dropped two straight bouts in 2010 to Andre Dirrell and Carl Froch.

    Against Dirrell, he was disqualified for hitting him while he was down. In his next fight, he was shutout by Carl Froch and lost a completely one-sided decision to the Brit.

    The focus of this fight will be how he is able to come back from two very poor performances.

    His opponent is Stjepan Bozic who has a record of 24-4.

    What should be a warm-up fight before his Super-Six fight with Andre Ward, Abraham needs to look impressive. It's a must-win for him.

No. 8: Ronald Hearns Vs. Felix Sturm

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    Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images

    Date: February 19


    Felix Sturm (34-2) takes on Ronald Hearns (26-1) in a super-middleweight bout for the WBA title.

    Hearns went 3-0 in 2010 while Sturm only went 1-0.

    Sturm is among the best in the division and has been for the past few years. He has been criticized for not taking on the biggest challenges the division has to offer.

    The German's last fight in the United States was against Oscar De La Hoya in 2004 (losing a controversial unanimous decision).

    This is an important fight for Sturm because maybe the next one will the one he steps up in competition.

No. 9: Fernando Guerrero Vs. Saul Roman

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Date: February 18

    Televised on ESPN2


    Fernando Guerrero (20-0) is one of the fastest rising prospects in the middleweight division. The Dominican figher went 3-0 in 2010 that included a win over Ishe Smith in July.

    His opponent, Saul Roman (34-8) is a solid opponent who can produce some challenges for the young up-and-comer.

    Roman defeated Michael Medina this past Saturday. He knocked him out in the second round, the first opponent to do so.

No. 10: Juan Carlos Burgos Vs. Cristobal Cruz

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    Juan Carlos Burgos

    Date: February 25

    Televised on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights


    Cristobal Cruz (39-12) is coming off a loss to Orlando Salido in May, which was a rematch. He holds wins over Jorge Solis, Alberto Garza and Orlando Salido.

    His opponent, Juan Carlos Burgos (25-1) is coming off the first loss of his career against Hozumi Hasegawa.

    Both fighters will be looking to rebound from their recent losses against top opponents, and that should make for a good fight.