By Chris Robinson
As I have been reporting the past few weeks, there is a bevy of young talent inside of the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas these days.
Gearing up for a May 5th challenge of Miguel Cotto’s WBA junior middleweight crown, undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. has gone with a bit of a youth movement heading into the fight, bringing in some younger and bigger sparring mates to help him get ready for the bout.
Undefeated middleweights Omar Henry, age 25, J’Leon Love, age 24, Bastie Samir, age 25, and standout Cuban-American amateur Luis Arias, age 21, have all played their part in getting Floyd ready the Cotto encounter, but there is another character who has been coming through the doors on a daily basis to serve his role.
Ramon Montano has been a pro for nine years and while he may not have gotten the type of fanfare he was looking for in his career, he has been a part of some key camps with Mayweather dating back to 2007.
Born in Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico on November 8th, 1982, Montano remembers growing up relatively poor yet always striving for some kind of a better life.
“I started working when I was eight years old,” Montano reflected before a recent training session. “My mind was different, thinking about doing something in my life. Going to school first and then doing something different.”
Montano took up an interest in sports at that same time and would eventually parlay his involvement into kick-boxing over to boxing. And despite being thrown to the wolves, Montano found a way to survive.
“When I was into boxing, my trainer put me in his gym,” Montano continued. “I didn’t know about it, but he took me to the gym and I started working with all pro fighters. And I started training, fighting amateur, and I started having a couple professional fights in Mexico.”
Montano would have a handful of fights in Mexico but soon realized there was no real future for him in his native country. Wanting to branch out, he took a fight against Coachella, California’s Thomas Barragan at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada in May of 2004.
In a card headlined by Humberto Soto’s 6th round TKO over Colombian trial horse Wilson Alcorro, Montano would drop a majority-decision to Barragan but left enough of an impression with Top Rank for the company to take an interest in him.
“I came here and I fight and I lost,” said Montano of the Barragan defeat. “Then I got an invitation from Top Rank. I came back and I started coming back. Two months later I moved back. That’s when I started fighting for Top Rank. I fight for them for four years. I had good fights there and after that I stayed to myself.”
For Montano, it seemed like all he ever asked for.
“When I came here the first time, it was my goal, my dream, to come to Vegas and see the lights of the city,” he reflected. “It was the first city I saw in the United States. When I go to other cities in the United States, it’s not comfortable for me. I love Las Vegas.”
Those four years were pretty memorable for Montano, as he points to his March 2006 draw with Dmitriy Salita, a fight he claims he clearly won, as well as his upset over once-beaten Americo Santos one year later and his March 2008 scrap with then-lightweight champion David Diaz as being fights he will always remember.
It was also during his time with Top Rank that Montano would cross paths with Mayweather Jr., who then too was also fighting for the promotional outfit.
“I met Floyd in 2005 at the Top Rank Gym. I think he liked my style and after that, in 2007 when he fought Ricky Hatton, Rafael Garcia brought me here,” said Montano, who also joined Mayweather in camp prior to his victories over Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane Mosley.
And for Montano, the often-brash Mayweather has been all class along the way.
“Yeah, he’s very nice with me,” Montano claimed. “He always takes care of me and always appreciates my work. For me, he’s the best person, best fighter, everything.”
Interestingly, one of Montano’s most recent fights was a unanimous decision loss to undefeated prospect and Mayweather Promotions’ own Jessie Vargas in December of 2010 underneath the Amir Khan-Marcos Maidana bout at the Mandalay Bay. Montano would have one fight afterwards, losing a shocker to Juan Suazo this past July to bring his record to 17-10-2 (2) and he insists he is ready to put his fighting days in the past.
“I’m done with my career, I’m done,” said a still-upbeat Montano. “What I did in my career, I did a lot of different things and I’m happy with what I did. My last thing is working with the champ, Floyd. I’m happy with my life and that’s it. I don’t want to train. I’m going to train but I don’t want to fight anymore.”
But don’t expect Montano to slow down anytime soon. He still is involved in the sport, from running his own boxing classes to having a personal clothing line, NeverQuiT, that offers custom shirts, headgear, boxing gloves, hand wraps and shorts.
That in itself is enough to keep one busy but Montano is hoping for other accomplishments down the road.
“I have a lot of goals,” stated Montano. “To take care of my family, my daughter, my wife, and my son. I want to focus on working. I want to be a police officer, that’s my goal.”
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