You can tell by the way that they interact with one another that there are no hard feelings between Nontio Donaire and Fernando Montiel. The two bantamweight pugilists, set to meet on February 19th for Montiel’s WBC and WBO trinkets, have obvious admiration for one another and you would be hard pressed to find any tension between them when they are both in the same room.
But that doesn’t mean they won’t make for a great fight when they meet next month at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. Speaking at today’s press conference at the Mizuya Lounge to announce their fight, the 31-year old Montiel spoke like a man with a slight chip on his shoulder when assessing the fight, which will serve as HBO’s second big event of 2011 behind the January 29th Timothy Bradley-Devon Alexander junior welterweight unification tilt in Pontiac, Michigan.
<— Slideshow: Behind the scenes at today’s Montiel-Donaire presser
“I have great respect for Donaire and his family,” Montiel stated. “I have much respect outside of the ring but inside of the ring I have no respect and it won’t last 36 minutes.”
Those words shouldn’t come as a surprise as Montiel has shown himself to be a calculated and cold-blooded assasin, most recently evidenced on the big stage by his shocking 4th round upset over then-champion Hozumi Hasegawa in Japan last April. In that contest Montiel started slow before stunning Hasegawa with a huge left hand and finishing him off along the ropes with a flurry of punches moments later. Montiel’s back was against the wall heading into the fight but the victory rejuvinated his career.
Montiel noted that this will be his last fight at 118 pounds, as he hinted at moving up to the junior featherweight division following the bout. But that certainly doesn’t mean that his business with Donaire would be finsihed, as he made mention of facing his Fil-Am foe for a return bout.
“I am preparing myself for two wars and I know there will be a rematch after this fight and I will win that as well.”
On striking statistic that was revealed during the press conference was the fact that despite his contender status, Donaire is opening up as -180 betting favorite over his Los Mochis, Mexico foe. Asked for his take on those odds, Montiel’s demeanor was that of a veteran savoring the moment.
“I’m not worried about Nonito being the favorite. Bet on me and get ready to make money. This is the fight I am looking for. It’s the type of fight that motivates me.”
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at Trimond@aol.com