WBO and WBC bantamweight (118 pounds) champion Fernando Montiel, of Mexico, and, WBA interim super flyweight (115 pounds) titlist Nonito Donaire (pictured above, at center) will meet in what should be an explosive, HBO televised affair that is being promoted by Top Rank Promotions on Saturday night at the Mandalay Hotel in Las Vegas.
The 31-year-old Montiel (44-2-2, 34 knockouts) is riding an 11-0-1 unbeaten streak that includes nine knockouts, four straight stoppages and a mark of 5-0-1, with five knockouts in his past six fights.
In addition, Montiel is among five Mexican fighters to have won world titles over the course of three divisions -- the others being WBA and WBO lightweight (135 pounds) titlist Juan Manuel Marquez (51-5-1, 38 KOs), Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. (107-6-2, 86 KOs), Erik Morales (51-6, 35 KOs) and Marco Antonio Barrera (67-7, 44 KOs).
In April, Montiel trailed on the cards when he scored a sensational fourth-round knockout over Hozumi Hasegawa (29-3, 12 KOs), a man who was in search of his sixth straight stoppage during a 25-fight winning streak that had included 11 knockouts.
But the 28-year-old Donaire (25-1, 17 KOs), a resident of San Leandro, Calif., who arrived in America from his native Philippines at the age of 10, enters his second-ever and second straight bantamweight match up in pursuit of his 25th straight victory and his 10th stoppage in his past 12 fights.
In December, there was Donaire's fourth-round knockout during his bantamweight debut against Ukrainian former titlist Volodymyr Sydorenko (22-2-2, seven KOs). Sydorenko's nose was broken, and he was stopped for the first time in his career after having been dropped once each in the first, third, and, fourth rounds.
Donaire has patterned himself in the mold of Filipino countryman, Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs), a WBO welterweight (147 titlist) who earned his record eighth crown over as many different weight divisions with November's unanimous decision over ex-champion, Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs) for the WBC's junior middleweight (154 pounds) belt.
Nicknamed "The Mexecutioner," Pacquiao's 13-fight winning streak includes eight knockouts and victories over fighters of Mexican decent such as Morales, Barrera, Marquez, Margarito, David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, and, Jorge Solis.
FanHouse sought the opinions of 12 boxing experts regarding their thoughts on who will win the battle between Mexico and the Philippines.
Ryan Burton, BoxingScene.com
Nonito Donaire TKO 10 Fernando Montiel: I'm taking Nonito Donaire by a TKO, and if I have to say a round, then I will say in round 10. I think that the first four or five rounds are going to be action-packed.
I can see both guys going down once, but I think that Nonito Donaire's height, and his length and his speed and his just being youthful will come out.
Donaire just seems so hungry during the times that I've spoken to him leading up to this fight, that I think that he's focused to take care of business.
Steve Carp, Las Vegas Review Journal
Fernando Montiel SD 12 Nonito Donaire: I think that this is a very, very competitive fight. Nonito Donaire, physically, has the goods on Montiel.
But I think that Fernando Montiel is such a veteran fighter who is so courageous and so tough. I'm just not sure that Montiel is going to go down easily.
Montiel likes holding on to those belts, and with all of the stuff going on in the bantamweight division, I think that Montiel wants to make a statement.
As good as Donaire is, and, as popular as Donaire is becoming, I think, for some reason, that Montiel is going to find a way to eke out a decision.
I don't think that this will be the only time that they fight, by the way. I think that this will be the first time in at least a couple of match up between these two.
I think that Donaire is going to have his chances, but I think that Montiel is going to find a way to eke out a decision. So I think that it will be a split-decision for Montiel.
Bob Canobbio, CompuBox, Inc.
Nonito Donaire TKO 10 Fernando Montiel: Nonito Donaire by 10th round TKO. Both have one-punch knockout power, which is rare for bantamweights.
But Donaire's more selective and more accurate with his power shots, landing 47 percent in eight of his fights tracked by CompuBox to 35 percent for Fernando Montiel in 11 of his figfhts tracked by CompuBox.
Donaire also threw and landed nearly three time as many jabs as Montiel and should take full advantage of his height and reach advantage -- see Jhonny Gonzalez vs. Montiel.
Also, Donaire has less mileage on the odometer and has found a new lease on life fighting at bantamweight after starving himself to make 112 and 115 pounds.
Steve Farhood, Showtime boxing analyst
Nonito Donaire KO 8 Fernando Montiel: Nonito Donaire has more range, a batter chin, and he's fresher.
Montiel's only chance is a left-hook knockout. I like Donaire by kayo in the middle rounds.
Norm Frauenheim, 15rounds.com
Nonito Donaire W 12 Fernando Montiel: Nonito Donaire by decision. Donaire might have to pull himself up and off the canvas to beat tough and smart Fernando Montiel.
But that's the price of stardom, which has been part of the marketing potential attached to Donaire for a couple of years.
Montiel is better, much better, than the betting odds stacked against him a year ago, even six months ago, he would have beaten Donaire.
But not now. Donaire's speed, body and mind appear to be coming together in a fighter rapidly moving into his prime.
With noted speed, Donaire can dodge the impact of the fight-ending potential in power possessed by Montiel, who sometimes appears flat-footed.
Montiel will get Donaire into trouble, but he won't keep him there in what promises to be a dramatic 12 rounds.
Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports
Nonito Donaire W 12 Fernando Montiel: Nonito Donaire by decision. This fight is truly one of the hardest to pick we've had in a while.
Montiel is a powerful puncher who showed his class by going to Japan and stopping the very talented Hozumi Hasegawa. Donaire has gotten better each time out and was extremely impressive in his win over Volodymyr Sidorenko.
I believe Donaire is evolving into a superstar and I expect him to pull out a decision victory in a bout during which both men will have their moments.
Vaughn Jackson, trainer of welterweight (147 pounds) contender Mike Jones
Nonito Donaire MD 12 Fernando Montiel: Nonito Donaire. I definitely have Nonito Donaire winning this fight. He's too smart, he's too slick, and even though he's moving up in weight, I still have him being the favorite.
I think that it will go the distance, but I just think that Donaire is going to give Fernando Montiel a boxing lesson. He's going to come out victorious by a majority decision.
Steve Kim, MaxBoxing.com
Nonito Donaire W 12 Fernando Montiel: I like the size and length of Nonito Donaire to win this fight.
I think his jab will be key in controlling the center of the ring and having Fernando Montiel on his heels and unable to consistently land his vaunted left-hook.
Donaire by decision'
Ronnie Nathanielsz, Philboxing.com
Nonito Donaire UD 12 Fernando Montiel: Being Filipino, I'll go for Nonito Donaire, and I've known Nonito for a long time and I've seen him fight.
I think that Nonito is a little too quick and moves a little too well for Fernando Montiel. But I'm not underestimating Fernando Montiel at all.
Montiel is a great fighter with a lot of experience and he works to the body a lot and he's strong. But I think that in the end, Nonito should be able to pull this one off.
I think that Nonito has some power that some people didn't think that he had. Nonito has got a vicious left hook, the one that knocked out Vic Darchinyan and the one that dropped and hurt Volodymyr Sydorenko.
So Nonito has got power in the left hook. But I think that Montiel can take a good punch, and I think that Nonito Donaire's chances are better at winning a decision.
So I think that it will go the distance, and I think that Donaire will win on points. I think that it will a unanimous decision for Nonito Donaire.
Rick Reeno, BoxingScene.com
Nonito Donaire KO 10 Fernando Montiel: I've got to give the edge to Nonito Donaire. I just think that he's too big and I think that he's too fast.
I think that Fernando Montiel is just facing too much of a size difference. I think that Donaire could easily be fighting at featherweight [126 pounds.]
I think that Montiel is going to have a lot of trouble with Donaire's speed. The end result, I believe, will be that Donaire is going to stop him within 10 rounds.
I can't see any particular round. Both of them are struggling to make weight, but I think that more about Montiel than Donaire. Montiel has said that, win or lose, he's going to super bantamweight [122 pounds] next.
Chris Robinson, The Examiner.com
Nonito Donaire TKO 11 Fernando Montiel: It's such a tough fight for me to pick. Fernando Montiel is more proven and more seasoned. But with Nonito Donaire, it's just kind of a hunch.
But it seems that Nonito has the qualities of a special fighter, and that this is the chance that there is for him to prove it. I think that Nonito will rise to the occasion.
I was thinking a late round knockout, and I think that's what I see. Some people may feel that Montiel's being overlooked.
But I have to go with Donaire. I'm going to go with a 10th, or, an 11th-round TKO for Nonito Donaire.
Joe Santoliquito, Managing Editor Ring Magazine
Nonito Donaire KO 10 Fernando Montiel: This has a chance to be an early Fight-of-the-Year candidate. It's a true fight fan's fight featuring two guys who will go at each other nonstop.
I feel that Nonito Donaire has a little more size and more boxing ability to avoid any Fernando Montiel onslaught.
In the end, I can see Donaire tearing up Montiel and slicing him up, forcing this fight to come to a premature conclusion and a stoppage victory for Donaire.
Michael David Smith, FanHouse.com
Fernando Montiel TKO 10 Nonito Donaire: Fernando Montiel by TKO. No one in the sport was more impressive than Montiel in 2010.
And although Nonito Donaire is a step up in quality of competition for him, I think Montiel is going to give us another exciting,impressive performance.
The experts, by a 11-to-2 margin, have Nonito Donaire vanquishing Fernando Montiel.