This Saturday, February 19, 2011 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas Nevada, the ultra fleet-footed Nonito Donaire (25-1) will square off against the hard-hitting Fernando Montiel (44-2).
I expect to see fireworks early in this fight as Donaire will be eager to prove he can outbox the pressure fighter that is Montiel.
Many boxing experts are already calling it a Donaire victory. However, I think Montiel will hand the Filipino Flash his second loss, ala an Ali-Frazier type fight.
Here’s why I see it going to Montiel.
Montiel is not well known in most boxing circles; moreover, what people do know about him is understated. The pressure Montiel places on his opponents is unreal; he is an accurate 2-3 punch combination fighter who systematically breaks down his opponents. Donaire is a switch-hitter who can change from southpaw to orthodox and uses the ring well to get out of trouble.
Donaire and Montiel are pretty evenly matched in this category. Donaire is called the Flash but Montiel is known for his quick reflexes and hand speed as well. If Donaire goes into this fight thinking he’s the only one with speed, he could get surprised really early.
Montiel went pro at age 16 and accumulated an impressive 21-0 record against stiff opposition. During that time Donaire was getting schooled in sparring sessions against his older brother Glenn Donaire. While Donaire's amateur experience is nothing to sneeze at, Montiel has simply been getting it done in the pros well before Donaire was allowed to carry Glenn’s jock strap.
Both fighters use combinations with great authority. Look for the right hook, left uppercut combination from both fighters. This technique will play in Montiels' favor due to his height and style if Donaire allows him to get too close.
Donaire’s toughest fight to date was against Sydorenko. Donaire dropped the Ukrainian fighter an impressive four times before referee Marcos Rosales called a halt to the bout. Other than that, not a great looking resume in comparison. Both Donaire and Montiel have faced Concepcion and Maldonado. While Donaire eked out a Decision and an eighth round TKO, Montiel dropped them both inside of Round 3.
This is the only category where experts tend to agree; Montiel has explosive power at this weight. Donaire is a fighter who doesn’t like to engage in brawls, so this plays a significant mental advantage as well.
Montiel is on a short list with Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. and Marco Antonio Barrera, all Mexican fighters who have won world titles in three weight divisions. Good company, to add to that Montiel is ranked No. 7 in the Ring Magazine pound-for-pound list, nipping at Donaire's heels who is ranked No. 5. Ring Magazine isn’t the end-all gospel when it comes to ranking, but they do have some clout and definitely lend to the confidence of a fighter.
Donaire is blessed with great conditioning, but again so is Montiel; no significant advantage for any fighter here. What will come into play is how much work Donaire makes for Montiel via chasing him around the ring.
Montiel has been in trouble, taken to the deep end of the pool and left to drown so to speak. However, he finds a way to win fights and does so in explosive fashion. When Donaire is in trouble, he runs. Granted, Donaire could have a check hook waiting if Montiel overpursues him. The same punch dropped Darchinyan, but I don’t see Montiel becoming that reckless.
“There’s definitely a knockout coming because we’re both looking for knockouts. It could be an Ali-Frazier of the bantamweights; there’s just two different styles,” Donaire told reports. “It would be a brawl.”
I think this is just lip service. Donaire doesn’t want a brawl with Montiel, but it shows his desire to fight. This is a make or break moment for both fighters. Montiel feels Donaire has been avoiding him. "I’ve tried to fight him (Donaire) for years, and I hope this time he doesn’t back out. He always agrees to fight and when the time comes, he backs away,” said Montiel.
Now that he has the chance he’s not going to waste it.
Montiel wins by KO inside of 10 rounds.