By Jake Donovan
Humberto Soto has been conditionally granted a license to compete in Nevada, though there remains one more hurdle leading to his proposed September 13 showdown with John Molina, Jr. in Las Vegas.
The bout is slated to appear during Showtime’s “free-view” prior to the Pay-Per-View portion of the evening. Headlining the show, Floyd Mayweather Jr. meets Marcos Maidana in a rematch to their competitive welterweight championship bout this past May.
The former two-division champ was subject to an extensive review by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, due to the extraordinarily high number of rounds (542) he has fought through 17 years as a pro boxer. The panel was prepared to approve his application, but fell short of granting full blessing due to missing medical reports for an EKG (one was etched in Spanish; an English-translated version is required for review), an MRA and chest X-Ray.
“The majority of his medicals have been done,” Roberto Diaz of Golden Boy Promotions pleaded with the commission panel during Thursday’s agenda hearing in Las Vegas. “He is in Toluca, Mexico right now. We are pending a chest x-ray and a new MRA.
“We can only communicate with him through email. The fight was booked approximately a couple of weeks ago before he left up in the mountains. He’s up in the high altitudes, where there is no electricity, no light. He has a generator, which provides source for light.”
The plea wasn’t openly received by the panel.
“We can’t have continual excuses of high altitude,” insisted NSAC Commissioner Bill Brady. “We have high altitude here in Vegas as well, but we still manage to get things done. We have to have a certain amount of time before the fight so that (Executive Director) Mr. Bennett can properly review.”
The panel unanimously voted in favor of granting a conditional license for Soto, providing that the missing medical reports are submitted to the commission for full review within the next seven days. The case will be reheard in the event of any reports still missing, or if any test results are deemed questionable and warrant further review.
Soto (64-8-2, 35KOs), 34, enters the September bout riding a six-fight win streak, including a 12-round decision over Wilfrido Buelvas this past June. All six bouts took place in his native Mexico, having not fought stateside since a 5th round stoppage loss to Lucas Matthysse in June ’12. His last fight in Vegas came in May ‘09, scoring a 9th round stoppage of Benoit Guadet in a supporting bout to Manny Pacquiao’s sensational 2nd round knockout of Ricky Hatton.
Prior to that, Soto fell prey to the itchy trigger finger of referee Joe Cortez, suffering a disqualification loss to Francisco Lorenzo in their June ’08 clash. Soto was handily winning the fight before hitting Lorenzo while the Dominican had taken a knee in round four. Cortez was out of position, thus not ruling the sequence a knockdown by the time Soto—protecting himself at all times–landed the punch.
The commission panel raised questions of his recollection of the bout. Soto stated that all he remembered of the night was the disqualification–having handily avenged the loss with a landslide points win in their 130 lb. title fight rematch later that year–but noted that he has “never failed an exam or can recall ever having any issues” while fighting in Las Vegas.
Providing he submits the remaining documentation, Soto can now move on to a showdown with Molina, who twice dropped and nearly upset Matthysse before suffering an 11th round knockout loss in their Fight of the Year contender this past April.
Fans can only hope for a repeat of such action in September, which Soto plans to offer. For now, he’s simply content with being afforded another opportunity to compete in the fight capital of the world.
“I am honored to return to Las Vegas,” Soto stated prior to the commission’s ruling. I thought all of the exams were completed, but will make sure they are completed.”
He will have to, as it’s the only he way he will be permitted to fight.
“I move for approval,” noted Commissioner Brady, but not without holding Soto and his team accountable. “Humberto Soto and (Roberto Diaz, whom Brady mistakenly referred to as Golden Boy VP Eric Gomez before correcting himself) responsible for providing medicals in proper format in the next week so that our doctor and Mr. Bennett can comfortably review.
“If there are any questions, it will have to come back here for review. With those conditions, motion for approval of this application is conditional upon MRA, chest X-Ray and English version of EKG provided to our doctor, Dr. Trainer. That will need to be accomplished within the next seven-day period.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox