Montiel keeps WBO junior bantamweight title on 12th round TKO

10/8/2007 - Boxing

LAS VEGAS -- Fernando Montiel of Mexico stopped Luis
Melendez of Colombia by technical knockout in the 12th round to
retain his World Boxing Organization junior bantamweight
championship Thursday at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

Montiel hurt Melendez early in the 12th with two rights to the
head. A left to the body seconds later dropped Melendez for a
seven-count. Montiel then landed a right cross and left hook to the
head, prompting referee Kenny Bayless to halt the bout at 1:58.

Montiel, who weighs 115 pounds and has a record of 35-2-1 with
26 knockouts, dropped the 114½ pound Melendez with a right to the
head in the sixth round.

Melendez, who has a record of 25-3-1 with 20 knockouts and was
fighting for a world title for the first time, returned the favor
in the seventh, dropping Montiel with a right to the head.

Montiel led on all three judges scorecards through 11 rounds,
ahead 107-100 on two cards and 107-101 on the third. Montiel looked
the more battered of the two. He suffered a cut over his left eye
during the seventh round and had large lumps over and under his
right eye.

He was making the fifth defense of the WBO 115-pound title he won in April 2005. Melendez had won 13 of his past 14 bouts dating back to 2004 entering this fight.