The fuse has been lit for “Dynamite” – pitting two Top-10 pound for pound fighters in an explosive showdown! Las Vegas’ first world title fight of 2011 will feature World Bantamweight Champion Fernando “Cochulito” Montiel defending his title against two-division world champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire in the latest chapter of the storied México-Philippines rivalry, Saturday, February 19, at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. The Montiel-Donaire world title tilt will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark, beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast.) The broadcast will open with undefeated Mike Jones against contender Jesus Soto-Karass in a rematch of their exciting battle which took place on November 13 under the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito PPV.
The MGM Resorts Sports Books opening line has Donaire the betting favorite. Donaire is – 220 over Montiel who is +180.
Remaining tickets to Montiel vs. Donaire, priced at $250, $125, $50 and $25, not including applicable service charges, can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino). Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Mandalay Bay at (877) 632-7400 or Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also will be available for purchase at www.mandalaybay.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
“Eighteen years ago I promoted a fight with two 108-pound world champions which was one of the greatest events I ever promoted — Michael Carbajal vs. Humberto Gonzalez at the Las Vegas Hilton. It proved to everyone that dynamite can come in all size of packages,” said Hall of Fame promoter and CEO of Top Rank, Bob Arum. “Montiel vs. Donaire at Mandalay Bay on February 19 will feature a matchup between two hard-punching bantamweights that is every bit as explosive as Carbajal-Gonzalez. It’s a can’t- miss fight and the fans will be assured of seeing a dynamite event”
“It is a very important fight for me and a great opportunity to prove that I am one of the best fighters in the world,” said Montiel. “I expect a tough fight, but I also expect to win”
“Fernando Montiel is the best fighter I have ever faced and certainly the toughest challenge of my professional career,” said Donaire. “It’s going to be a battle of strength and will. I’m leaving nothing to chance in training and when the final bell rings on February 19, the Philippines will have another mark in the victory column against México.”
“Montiel vs. Donaire is a terrific way to kickoff the season premiere of Boxing After Dark between the two biggest little guys in the sport,” said Kery Davis, senior vice president of programming for HBO Sports. “Fans fights are in for a big night, particularly with the Mike Jones and Jesus Soto-Karass rematch leading off our telecast.”
Richard Sturm, president of Sports and Entertainment for MGM Resorts International, said, “What an exciting way for Mandalay Bay to kick off the 2011 boxing schedule. This sensational match-up between two fabulous champions, Donaire and Montiel, will certainly bring an electric atmosphere to the Mandalay Bay Events Center and to the fans from around the world.”
Montiel (43-2-2, 33 KOs), of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, México, is only the fourth Méxican fighter to win world titles in three different weight divisions, joining Hall of Famer-elect Julio César Chávez and future Hall of Fame inductees Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera. Undefeated since 2006, eight of Montiel’s last ten victories (eight were world title fights) have been by stoppage.
Donaire (25-1, 17 KOs), a native of General Santos City, Philippines, now living in the Bay Area of San Leandro, Calif., is a consensus top-10 pound for pound fighter. He enters this fight riding a nine-year, 24-bout winning streak, which includes an IBF/IBO flyweight title knockout victory of defending champion Vic Darchinyan, and a fourth-round blasting of former WBA bantamweight champion Wladimir Sidorenko in his last fight on December 4.Nine of Donaire’s last 10 victories have come by way of knockout.
Co-promoted by Peltz Boxing, Jones and Soto-Karass return for an immediate rematch of their November 13 brawl. After Jones decked Soto-Karass in the second round, Soto-Karass came back to almost pull out the victory in a fight most ringside fans and media thought could have gone either way. In fact, Jones’ second-round knockdown of Soto-Karass provided Jones the one-point margin for a razor-thin majority decision victory instead of a Draw. The judges’ scores were 95-94, 97-93 and 94-94.
Jones (23-0, 18 KOs), of Philadelphia, PA., has been attracting rabid fans to his fights in the friendly confines of Atlantic City and Philadelphia. He took on his biggest challenge on the biggest stage he has ever fought on when he tangled with Soto-Karass, successfully defending his titles and adding the vacant WBC Continental Americas welterweight title. Considered one of the hottest prospects in boxing, six of his last nine victories have come by knockout. Victories over Brazilian strongman Juliano Ramos, Henry Bruseles, ending his five-year winning streak, Hector Muñoz and Irving Garcia, have catapulted Jones to the top of the ratings, where he is ranked No. 2 by the WBO, No. 3 by the WBA and IBF, and No. 4 by the WBC.
Soto-Karass (24-5-3, 16 KOs), of Los Mochis, México, boasts an impressive 13-2-2 (one No Contest) record, over his past 18 fights, dating back to 2005. The only other blemish was a sixth-round technical loss to Alfonso Gomez last year. Highlights of that period include knockout victories of former world champion Vince Phillips and undefeated contender Michael Rosales in WBC Continental Americas welterweight title fights in 2006 and contender David Estrada for the vacant NABF welterweight championship in 2008. He is currently world-rated No. 8 by the WBC.