Fernando Montiel returns to training
Unified bantamweight titlist Fernando Montiel, who injured his right leg in a dirt bike accident on Oct. 10, returned to his father's Los Mochis, Mexico, gym to train a little bit ahead of schedule on Tuesday.
Montiel suffered several bad cuts and bruises and had a bone fragment removed from knee, but he did not have a fracture. He was originally supposed to be sidelined for three weeks.
The accident caused Montiel to withdraw from a November bout that was in the works, but now he likely will defend his belts in December.
"I feel excellent," Montiel said. "The doctor has released me to train and said my right leg is doing well. I responded very well to the treatment and I have no doubt that I will get into rhythm in very little time. I will be ready to defend my title in December."
Fernando Beltran's Zanfer Promotions, which co-promotes Montiel with Top Rank, said he could face Mexican countryman Alejandro Valdez (22-4-3, 16 KOs) in a rematch.
They fought to a highly controversial third-round technical draw in a September 2009 nontitle bout.
"I know there was some controversy involved in that fight and the Valdez people have been asking for a rematch since that fight happened," Montiel said. "I am willing to give him the rematch, or I will fight whoever Zanfer wants me to fight. But if it's the rematch, I have no doubt I will beat him."
In the action-packed fight, Valdez was knocked down in the first round but also opened a terrible cut over Montiel's left eye, which referee Jesus Salcedo ruled to have been caused by a head butt, even though video replays clearly showed it was caused by a punch. In the second round, Valdez knocked down Montiel, who was bleeding badly from the cut.
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Salcedo did not give Valdez a chance to finish Montiel, instead walking him over to a corner to see the doctor so he could have his cut examined. Valdez continued to pound Montiel in the third round and his eye was nearly closed before the fight was stopped and declared a technical draw after much confusion in the ring.
If Montiel (42-2-2, 33 KOs) fights in December, he would have to win to preserve a lucrative fight planned against former flyweight titlist Nonito Donaire scheduled for Feb. 19 on HBO. Donaire (24-1, 16 KOs) has an interim bout he must win against former bantamweight titlist Wladimir Sidorenko on Dec. 4. That fight is part of Top Rank's "In Harm's Way" pay-per-view in Anaheim, Calif.
Montiel has won titles in three weight classes from flyweight to bantamweight. He claimed a bantamweight belt in 2009 and has made three defenses, including stopping Japan's Hozumi Hasegawa in the fourth round in April to unify to two titles.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.