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Montoya’s Mixed Monday Mailbag- Feb. 21, 2011

Good Monday, fight fans. “What a left hook!” is probably the thought still on your minds this morning. I know it is on mine. Nonito Donaire, long of the kind of lost momentum after his win over Vic Darchinyan, is now front row center on everyone’s minds. People are elevating him on pound-for-pound lists and saying he can beat anyone from 118 to 135. Let’s all temper our excitement. Yes, Nonito is a special talent but let’s see him at 122 and 126 before we match him with the best lightweights in the world. Still, it’s great to have another addition to our pantheon of stars. Welcome back, Nonito. It’s been a long time coming.


Mercito Gesta looked sharp as a tack beating Genaro Trazancos again in three rounds this past weekend. Undisputed Fight Magazine’s Mark Ortega told me that a CSAC source said the reason Trazancos, who has been KO’ed more times than we can shake a stick at in recent years, was OK’ed to fight because “They wanted to retire him.” Wow. There are better ways to do that like say, I don’t know, take away his license and tell other commissions why. This could have been a ring death or worse. Instead, the fight was a one-sided beatdown that had to be stopped when Trazancos showed signs of brain swelling (i.e. dilated pupils). When is the CSAC going to wake up, when someone dies? I’ll be doing another report on mismatches from around the globe later on this week.

I thought Mike Jones showed some improvement once he settled down in his rematch with Jesus Soto-Karass. What I wanted was for him to step forward and really put it on Soto-Karass to get him out of there. You have a guy bleeding like that from either side of his face and you don’t just open up on his face? Well, at least he was able to put together a 12-round fight for the first time. And there were times when he looked very good later in the fight but when matched with a guy with speed and power, he will have problems.


I still question how long the muscle-bound Jones can stay at 147, though. I find it funny that Bob Arum is mad that he can’t get his guy maneuvered into a title shot with Andre Berto. In-house Bob sure doesn’t like it when things go against him. Well, at least he take solace that the WBC made Kelly Pavlik the mandatory to Karl Froch despite losing his last fight at middleweight and having zero track record at super middleweight other than a catchweight fight with Jermain Taylor. Meanwhile, fight fans can get sick at the thought. I find it funny that Terry Lane, promoter for Jesse Brinkley, tweeted at me that Pavlik’s manager balked at a possible fight because Brinkley was too tough to fight so soon after returning to the sport, yet someone thought Pavlik was ready for a title shot. He is about as ready and deserving for a title shot at super middleweight as Saul Alvarez and Matthew Hatton are for one at 154 and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is at middleweight. At least Alvarez has a diamond or silver belt to his credit. All Chavez has is a silver spoon. Ahhh, boxing.


Here we go, fight fans.


“Dismissing Montiel”


1. Is it cruel and/or unfair to say that Fernando Montiel should be permanently banned from fighting on HBO? At this point he should be permanently banned from WATCHING HBO.


2. Were you also annoyed that Max Kellerman opened the main event by talking about how loaded the bantamweight division is, and ended it by telling Donaire to move straight to 126?


3. I set the over/under on when Donaire fights next at 7 months. Which one are you taking?




Whatsup, Jim?


1) I never like dismissing a fighter from the sport or from relevance based on one fight, particularly when they just faced a top-level fighter. We spend so much time asking for big fights between then the best. It’s unfair to simply discard the loser, no matter how badly he lost. On the other hand, I think it’s unfair to reward the loser with an open date (meaning a headlining HBO date against an opponent to be named later), as is the case with Paul Williams who has an HBO date in April against the dreaded TBA. Williams was knocked out ice-cold against Sergio Martinez last year and yet the winner of that fight, World Middleweight Champion Martinez has had a bad business decision (HBO giving in to Gary Shaw’s demand for a two-fight deal on HBO for Sergiy Dzinziruk) foisted on him yet again (remember that HBO told Martinez it was either fight Williams with the catchweight and all the other stipulations or not fight on HBO).


Montiel has been exciting in his last few fights. He ran into a rare talent in Nonito Donaire who is getting better every time out. No shame in that. I think HBO would be well-served to dip into the lower weight classes on a regular basis. If you think about it, “Fights of the Year” in the ‘90s and the 2000s, they’ve all been fights from middleweight on down to flyweight. There are only two exceptions that were heavyweight fights. Maybe that speaks to how badly the heavies suck. I tend to think it’s more to do with how much action there is to be had in the lower weights where fighters throw more punches and tend not to tire out quickly. Add in that the purses and opportunities are smaller and rare and what you get are fights with more passion than the glamour division has to offer. Fernando Montiel, who has gone anywhere and everywhere looking for a good fight in recent years, exemplifies what a prizefighter should be. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss him. We’ll miss his ilk when they are gone.


2) No diss on Max but I rarely listen to the HBO commentators. I enjoyed Roy Jones’ commentary as the man not only knows his business but has a gift for conveying what should be happening as well as what is happening. To me, Max was just advocating his network, which is not in the business of talking up the Showtime bantamweight tourney. The clear fight is the winner of that tourney vs. Donaire. I know Nonito will do it as he only interested in fighting the best. If Abner Mares wins, expect that fight not to be made as Mares is a Golden Boy fighter and Nonito is a Top Rank fighter. If Agbeko wins- and I am leaning toward him- I think Don King and Bob Arum will give us the fight we want. Another option is the possibility that a Donaire vs. Darchinyan rematch will finally happen. Darchinyan has shown just enough wear and tear that it will be time to make the fight. It’s a good showcase for Nonito.


3) I’m taking the under. Bob Arum has waited and waited and understands that now more than ever, Nonito Donaire is a star. The way he took control early and came out swinging, you could just tell he wanted to make a statement. And that is exactly what he did. What a left hook! That it came after a nice right by Montiel made it even more impressive. Had referee Russell Mora seen the way Montiel’s legs jumped all around like he was having a nightmare that he was Zab Judah to Donaire’s Kostya Tszyu, I think he would have stopped the fight immediately. Why he let the fight go when Montiel did not respond to his command to come forward is beyond me. I’m just happy he stopped the fight when he did. Nonito languished for years after his big win over Darchinyan. I doubt Bob Arum will keep him in the dark now. Since it was a short night, I expect Donaire back sooner rather than later.


“Mixed Bag”


Hey Gabe, hope everything is good.


Some comments/questions:


1. About Paul Williams return bout, I’ve been thinking about this and I know they want a safe/name/winnable fight. What do you think about a 3rd fight with Carlos Quintana? It is a winnable fight as El Indio seems to be turning the curve, there’s a story there ant it’s sellable because of the unfinished business standpoint.


2. Giovanni Segura and Ivan Calderón just announced their rematch to be taking place in Campeche, Mexico @ a venue with 5,000 seats in an independent PPV. I’m not saying this is an Estadio Azteca fight, but I’m sure a bigger venue could have been found. Can you see Iron Boy turning back the clock and winning a distance fight in Mexico or will it be same result different place?


3. Is Andre Berto going to fight any "championship" caliber fighter... ever?


Take Care,




All is well, thanks. Hope it’s the same on your end.


1) From what I am told by a few sources near the Williams camp, Paul wants a tough fight coming back. Say what you want about him, the man never backs down from a challenge. I expect cooler heads to prevail here. The big question is in what division will Paul end up. I think 154 is a great division for him. Dzinziruk is leaving that division for a fight; Alfredo Angulo is MIA; James Kirkland is returning and Saul Alvarez is going for a belt I expect him to get. There is room here for Williams to set up shop. A move back down to 147 after such a brutal KO could be dangerous. That said, I like your idea of a Quintana rubber match. He soundly outboxed Williams that first time and was blown out in the rematch. Let’s see it again. Paul can show he can master the left-handed style; Quintana gets a shot at redemption, and since Paul has beaten him before, there will be a modicum of built-in confidence there. Quintana was able to land a similar punch to the one Martinez landed on Williams to KO him. Paul could work on defending that while safe knowing that Quintana’s punch is not exactly “Maravilla.” It’s a good fight.


A second option: if they want to go in tough and head back to 147, there’s a Williams-Mike Jones fight; two lanky guys who give up their height. I think this could be a fun war. That might be a lot to ask of Williams but it would be a fun match-up and get Williams back to fighting right-handers who he has much success against. He’s never lost to one. In any case, look for Williams to headline in April on HBO.


2) I think things just got harder for Calderon. He had all the advantages his hometown had to offer in the first match and he lost. Now he has to beat Segura at home? I don’t like this at all for “Iron Boy.” Sure, with his style, he can turn back the clock just a bit but I think Segura is just too big, too young, and too strong to lose to the aging wonder. I like Segura to win by TKO just a little later than the last time. Calderon will move and box just enough to last longer in the fight but that’s about it.


As for venue, I’m not going to second-guess the pros here. I’m sure if there was more money to be made, they would do it in a larger stadium. The first fight was on an independent PPV. Not sure how many saw it so it stands to reason that doing it again in a small venue makes some sense.


3) If Andre Berto signs to fight with Victor Ortiz (Ortiz told David Duenez and me on radio show last Thursday that Berto had not signed yet), he will be fighting a championship-caliber opponent. I like the fight a lot. More on that in the next email.




Where do you think it will end up??? How do you like Victor’s chances for the win??





Right now, it is hard to say. The venue is the part that is holding up the works. Lou DiBella told us last week that he would like the venue in Southern California but because of the 118-pound tourney at the Nokia Theatre the following week, that was a problem. The Home Depot Center is not available. Madison Square Garden is not available. So we have a good fight but no venue.


I think this a tough fight. Ortiz is a rangy guy who has the frame to easily move up to 147. He has been weighing in about above the welter limit on fight night, regularly. If you look at his legs, you can see where the 140-pound sacrifice is made. He is actually taller than Berto and has fought (though lost) against Marcos Maidana and just fought a tough fighter in Lamont Peterson to a draw. He is battle-tested (though, again, he failed against Maidana), has real power and good speed that I think will carry over to 147 (though this fight is at 146).


This is a case of a good fight being crapped on because Ortiz has no 147-pound track record and Berto is always facing 140-pounders. When you look at styles and mentalities (southpaw vs. right-hander, aggressive counterpuncher vs. aggressive leader), it can make for an explosive fight. I’ve liked this one since it was first mentioned and now that we have it, I still feel that way. I honestly can’t wait. I hope it’s in SoCal because 1) It is close to my house and 2) I think it’s a perfect fit for fight fan-heavy SoCal.


I’ll have a full feature interview with Victor Ortiz up on tonight.


Have a great week, fight fans. 


You can email Gabriel at, follow him on Twitter at and catch him on each Monday’s episode of “The Next Round” with Steve Kim or tune into hear him live on Thursdays at 5-8 PM PST when he co-hosts the BlogTalk radio show Gabriel is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.


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