By Jake Donovan
After weeks of trading words behind the mic and through the media, Fernando Montiel and Giovanni Caro can finally exchange punches in the ring.
Both fighters came in at the super bantamweight limit of 122 lb. for Saturday night's grudge match at Gimnasio Municipal Jose Neri Santos in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Televisa will air the regional title fight, which is scheduled for 12 rounds.
Montiel (48-4-2, 37KO) is anxious to return to the sport's top level, around where he hovered for much of a career that has featured title reigns in three weight classes.
The 33-year old enjoyed a brief stay as the world's best bantamweight until running into the dynamite fists of Nonito Donaire last February. Montiel was stretched in two rounds, and has struggled ever since to reclaim past glory.
He has since won four of his last five bouts entering Saturday's contest, though the one loss pushes him further down in queue for a desired shot at Abner Mares. Ahead of him in line is Victor Terrazas, who scored an upset decision win over Montiel a year ago almost to the day.
The fact that Montiel has campaigned for a shot at Mares has not at all sat well with Caro (24-11-4, 19KO). The visiting journeyman has taken his case to the media, venting his feelings of disrespect while his promoter Hector Garcia demanded full transparency in regards to the judging panel.
Caro's entire camp were ultimately granted all wishes. Montiel went on record to express the level of respect he holds for his opponent, while the WBC released the names of Saturday's officials earlier in the week. The referee for the bout is Rocky Burke, of the United States. All three judges are from Mexico, though none with a history that suggests Montiel merely needs to show up in order to win on their cards.
The televised co-feature pits budding lightweight contender Alejandro Sanabria against Nery Saguilan (24-2-1, 10KO) in a 10-round contest. Both fighters came in at the contracted weight of 130 lb.
Sanabria (33-1-1, 25KO) took a page out of Montiel's playbook, planning his next fight through the media while another one presently awaits him. He takes a risk in fighting at super featherweight for this contest, but is confident that he will extend his win streak to 10 straight. So confident, that he is already angling for a hoped-for future showdown with newly crowned lightweight titlist Adrien Broner.
Both bouts air live on Televisa as part of the network's 'Sabados de Corona' series.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox