LAS VEGAS, NEV. With the HBO “Boxing After Dark” cameras rolling, a rarity for the smaller weight divisions, “The Filipino Flash” seized the night behind a magnum opus of speed and power. Eerily similar to the thunderous punch he landed on Vic Darchinyan almost four years ago, a counter left hook from Donaire rocked Montiel, sending him rolling on the canvas.
As the Mexican rose to his feet, the Filipino superstar jetted over to his foe and launched another left hook. When it found its mark, referee Russell Mora called the bout in a moment that will undoubtedly shake up the landscape of the sport.
NONITO DONAIRE TKO2 FERNANDO MONTIEL
WBC bantamweight title
WBO bantamweight title
Nonito Donaire vindicated his position among the top five pound-for-pound fighters in the world with an emphatic second-round stoppage of defending champion Fernando Montiel in a WBC/WBO bantamweight title tilt from the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Donaire, 118, ignited the fireworks early with a heavy counter left hook that shook his opponent. Montiel, 118, looked to measure his opponent and pump the jab soon afterward. Before the bell, the two traded, with Donaire getting the better of the exchange and Montiel raising his hands in defiance.
In round two, Donaire looked to feint his way inside, with his height advantage making itself present as he stared down his two barrels of fists. Montiel tried to put on the pressure as a result, throwing a left hook off his jab. Montiel then began to assert himself by throwing a combination in the center of the ring.
Then it happened.
A counter left hook detonated on Montiel’s jaw, sending him sprawling to the floor. As he struggled to stand up, Donaire jumped on him quickly, wasting no time with another left hook before the referee stopped the bout. The official time was 2:25.
“In the second round, I wanted to see exactly where [Montiel’s] body was and where his head was going to be. And I had to time it,” said Donaire, now 26-1 (18). “I can see it coming and I knew exactly what was going to happen and where he was going to be at.”
“I would like to stay in this weight class,” added Donaire, who is now mulling over promotional free agency, “but if not, I have trust in manager Cameron Dunkin and in God to make things happen. I am thankful for this opportunity to be where I am in the pound-for-pound rankings. I’m happy being [number two] to Manny and making people happy makes me feel like I’m number one.”
With the loss, Montiel falls to 44-3-2 (34).
MIKE JONES UD12 JESUS SOTO-KARASS
NABA welterweight title
NABO welterweight title
WBC Continental Americas welterweight title
In a rematch of their controversial first fight last November on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito, “Machine Gun” Jones, 147, refrained from the same mistake in punching himself out and cruised to a unanimous decision in the co-feature.
Soto-Karass, 146, looked to cut the ring off from a Jones that was constantly in motion in the first two rounds and was relatively unsuccessful. In the third round, what seemed to be an accidental headbutt opened up a cut on both of Soto-Karass’ eyes. Referee Kenny Bayless stopped the action to allow the ring physician to examine it; the Mexican was able to continue. It was then we began to see a little bit of what transpired in the first boutspirited trading and impactful contact from both fighters.
After Bayless and the physician seemed to mull over stopping the fight, a frantic Soto-Karass refused to quit and was allowed back in the ring for round four. As a result, the overwhelmingly pro-Mexican crowd chanted “Si, se puede!” (“Yes, you can!”) in appreciation.
At this point, a desperate “Renuente” was cognizant of the situation; he would need a knockout and he would need it now. However, aside from a flurry in the neutral corner where Soto-Karass landed a right cross and grazed Jones with a massive left hook, the Philadelphia fighter wouldn’t give him the opportunity. Jones was successful throwing off the back foot and circling to his left.
Round five and six saw Soto-Karass’ cuts remarkably begin to close. He continued to press forward but was unable to find Jones, who countered off the ropes beautifully and peppered Soto-Karass with his jab in the center of the ring.
Perhaps the seventh frame leaned to Soto-Karass, who was able to put together some effective aggression. He came in with his hands up high and dug his familiar left hook to the body in an effort to slow down Jones’ attack.
Soto-Karass displayed signs of slowing down himself in the eighth. His lead left hooks caught air several times, and Jones’ counterattacks became more and more accurate as the frame progressed.
Jones now commenced mixing up his attack in the ninth. While Soto-Karass plodded forward, Jones didn’t allow himself to remain in one place. When he did, he was drilled by two left hooks to the ribcage. However, Soto-Karass could not sustain the attack and Jones escaped again. Still, a determined “Renuente” wouldn’t take no for an answer; like a lumberjack to a stubborn oak trunk, he chopped and chopped the body with the left hook. But would it all be in vain?
Jones took the initiative in round ten and re-opened the cuts with a variety of lead left hooks, jabs, and combinations. With around 1:03 left, Bayless again called in the physician to check out the cuts. Once again, Soto-Karass was allowed to continue. However, it seemed as if the sting began to leave his volleys and Jones took advantage. He threw a lunging right hand that landed cleanly and drew groans from the crowd.
It seemed that a fairytale finish for Soto-Karass would not materialize by the 11th. His warrior heart could not prevent him from the vulnerable state of his vision. Jones took full advantage and ducked and dodged his way out of trouble. Blood streaming down Soto Karass’ left eye, he threw overhand rights and one-twos that did not have much effect at Jones at this point of the bout.
The final chapter began with Soto-Karass looking for one last shot at glory. He gathered enough energy to back Jones into the ropes and throw a combination to the body with bad intentions. Again, however, Jones’s superior footwork and speed allowed him to evade the advances and cruise to the final bell.
Scores were 115-113, 116-112, and 117-111 for Jones.
The questions for Jones remain: Is he ready for a title eliminator? Will his body allow him to remain a welterweight? We’ll find out.
Jones jumps to 24-0 (18). Soto-Karass, from Los Mochis, Mex., falls to 24-6-3 (16).
MICKEY BEY, JR. D8 JOSE HERNANDEZ
Bey, 131.5, used his superior boxing skills to rack up rounds. Hernandez, 131, called on his height and strength advantage to do the same. The end result was a majority draw.
Both fighters had their moments, with Hernandez imposing his will on the ropes and Bey classically pumping his jab and putting one-twos together when the two didn’t fight in the pocket.
Scores were 76-76 twice and 78-74 for Bey.
Bey, fighting of Cleveland and managed by James Prince, now stands at 16-0-1 (8). Hernandez, of Fort Worth, Tex., goes to 10-4-1 (4).
MARK JASON MELLIGEN UD10 GABRIEL MARTINEZ
One had a short-lived no-contest with Jesus Soto-Karass that didn’t even last two rounds. The other one has been chasing a fight with the Mexican for years. This time, the latter might get his wish after pulling out the victor as Melligen, 147, pulled out the unanimous decision over ten rounds.
Usually when a southpaw fighter meets an orthodox one, fireworks are not a result. However, the bout brought the fans some entertaining action as Melligen found a home for his right cross off the jab and Martinez, 146.5, had his moments with hooks to the body for the most part.
In the end, Melligen’s volume prevailed in a fight that I felt was closer than the judges’ scorecards would tell you.
Scores were 99-91 twice and 98-92 for Melligen.
Melligen, from Bacolod City, Philippines, now goes to 21-2 (14). Martinez, from Empalme, Mex., drops to 27-2-1 (14).
YORDENIS UGAS UD6 CARLOS MUSQUEZ
Musquez, 144, gained notoriety for drawing with touted Golden Boy prospect Anthony Martinez in January. However, this day would belong to Ugas, 145, a Cuban with a straight-up style. Not everything went smoothly early on for Ugas, as Musquez rang his bell with a straight right. But Ugas collected himself and outworked Musquez with a stiff left jab and the one-two for the rest of the bout.
Scores were 60-54 on all three cards for Ugas.
Ugas, from Santiago de Cuba, goes to 6-0 (3). Musquez, a Sacramento native, plunges to 3-4-3 (3).
MIKE ALVARADO TKO3 DEAN HARRISON
In the opening bout, Alvarado, 139, and Harrison traded early and often, with the left uppercut and lead straight right doing damage on the latter. A wobbly Harrison began to show signs of wear and after three, the referee stopped it.
Alvarado, from Thornton, Colo., rises to 29-0 (21). Harrison, from Wolverhampton, U.K., stumbles to 16-5 (5).