Montiel out to prove he's the man at junior bantamweight
Fernando Montiel is pulling out all the stops in his quest to reign supreme at junior bantamweight. First up: a date with Luis Maldonado on Saturday.
Originally Published: May 29, 2008By Robert Morales | Special to ESPN.com
AP Photo/Jae C. HongWho's the king at 115? We won't know until Fernando Montiel, right, and Cristian Mijares meet.Fernando Montiel is like most Mexican fighters: filled with tremendous pride. When it was suggested to him Tuesday that he is the "other" super flyweight champion from Mexico because countryman Cristian Mijares now holds two of the four belts, Montiel became animated. "I'm not saying I'm the best, I'm just saying let's meet," said Montiel, who possesses a world title at 115 pounds and will defend it Saturday against Luis Maldonado in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. "Once we fight each other we'll really find out who is the best. I think some people think he's the best. I know that some people think I'm the best. But we're never really going to find out until we meet each other." Montiel said he knows it won't be easy to dispatch Maldonado, another Mexican, on Saturday. But he didn't mind talking about his future and his career during a telephone conversation from San Luis Potosi.
He became most excited when discussing future opponents such as Mijares. The names of flyweight champion Nonito Donaire and former light flyweight champion Jorge Arce also came up. But there could be a stumbling block with Arce. Bob Arum, promoter of both Montiel and Arce, said Arce now tells him he does not want any more fights at super flyweight and that he wants to immediately move up to super bantamweight to challenge 122-pound world champion Israel Vazquez. Mijares is No. 1 on Montiel's hit list, but Montiel said he finds fights with Donaire and Arce (with whom Montiel happens to be good friends) intriguing. "Of course, I would be very interested in that kind of fight," Montiel said of a bout with Donaire, the Filipino who shocked the world by taking the flyweight title from Vic Darchinyan via fifth-round technical knockout last July. "That would be a fight between champions. That would be a fight that I would definitely want to do." Cameron Dunkin, Donaire's manager, late Tuesday night voiced concern that a Donaire-Montiel fight could be difficult to make because Arum and Donaire's promoter, Gary Shaw, are on the outs. The two had been in litigation from two lawsuits filed by Shaw -- one each in New York and Nevada -- after Jose Luis Castillo did not make weight for the second time for a fight with the late Diego Corrales. Arum promoted Castillo; Shaw had Corrales. However, Arum said Wednesday morning that is no longer an issue because Shaw dropped both lawsuits of his own accord about three weeks ago.
AP Photo/Isaac BrekkenIn his last fight, Montiel, right, looked spectacular in blasting out Martin Castillo.
"I wasn't happy that he brought it, but now that he's dropped it, it's a clean slate," Arum said. "He dropped it on his own volition and we didn't pay him a nickel. I was reluctant to [negotiate for a fight] while we were in litigation with each other." A call to Shaw went unreturned. Donaire has defended his belt once, an eighth-round technical knockout of the aforementioned Maldonado. Dunkin not only said he would love to get Donaire in the ring with Montiel, he predicted victory. "I have a lot of faith that my guy wins," Dunkin said. "I don't think anybody beats Donaire. I think my guy is sensational."
Tom Casino/ShowtimeLuis Maldonado, left, was stopped by Nonito Donaire in December.
I have a lot of faith that my guy wins. I don't think anybody beats Donaire. I think my guy is sensational.
-- Nonito Donaire's manager, Cameron Dunkin, in regards to a fight between his charge and Fernando Montiel