Feb. 19, 2011
Ryan MaquianaCSNBayArea.comAs seen on Chronicle Live last week, San Mateos Nonito Donaire faces the fight of his life this Saturday in Las Vegas against WBCWBO bantamweight champion Fernando Montiel on HBO. Donaire (25-0, 17 KOs) is currently ranked Ring Magazines No. 5 pound-for-pound fighter in the world regardless of weight class. Montiel (44-2-2, 34 KOs) sits only two notches down at No. 7. (By comparison, Pacquiao and Mayweather occupy the top two spots.) Needless to say, this is a battle of epic proportions that will undoubtedly shake up the boxing world, so Ive enlisted the help of a few local fighters (and a notable trainer) to get their take on how things will play out at the Mandalay Bay Events Center this weekend.Andre Ward, WBA super middleweight champion, Oakland: Its hard to say. Hes coming up in weight and Montiel has a lot of experience. Montiel is an excellent pressure fighter, but Nonito is a dynamite fighter. Nonito is deceptively strong and extremely fast. At the end of the day, his speed, unpredictability, and powers going to be the difference in the fight. I pick Nonito.Virgil Hunter, trainer of Andre Ward, Oakland: The first two rounds will have a lot to say to determine how its going to go. As far as Montiel, no matter how hard you train, certain fighters can bring you out of your element. We havent seen what he has to do when he has to fight at a speed hes not accustomed to fighting. On the flip side, I know Nonitos going to see more aggression than hes seen before. In my gut, a TKO between rounds seven and ten for Donaire.Robert Guerrero, former 3-time world champ, Gilroy: Nonitos my boy! Hes going to smoke him! Seriously though, Nonitos been fighting at the smaller weights like 112 and 115 pounds for a long time, and hes hungry. Montiels a very tough fighter, but the speed will be too much. Plus, now that Nonitos able to move up to 118, hes going to feel much stronger than Montiel. I like Nonito to pull out the victory.Richard Hargraves, 2-time National Golden Gloves bronze medalist, S.F.: Im fighting on Friday at Fishermans Wharf, too, but Ill be watching Nonitos fight the next day. His speed is definitely the key. Look at Manny Pacquiao. Not only does he have the speed, he knows how to utilize it. Just watching Nonito spar, he does a lot of things other fighters cant do, which makes him elite. Hes going to bring it home to the Bay Area. It could be a late stoppage win for Nonito, but I see a decision.Karim Mayfield, undefeated welterweight prospect, S.F.: I think Montiel has an unorthodox style, which will make him always difficult to train for, but Nonitos working with a world-class strength coach in Remi Korchemny. Ive worked with Remi before, and hes the truth. Also, Nonitos been doing a little of everything when Ive seen him spar. I dont know if hes going to switch to southpaw at times, but hes the type of fighter where if one situation doesnt work, I see him adjusting. I see a unanimous decision for Nonito Donaire.