By Cliff Rold
In the battle to determine the best fighter in the world at Jr. Bantamweight (115 lbs.), 29-year old WBO titlist Fernando Montiel (37-2-1, 28 KO) of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico made a powerful statement on Saturday night at the Plaza De Toros El Paseo in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, stopping fellow Mexican Luis Maldonado (37-3-1, 28 KO) in three. It was Maldonado’s third knockout loss in three title fights and second loss in a row. Maldonado’s previous bout was an eighth-round stoppage loss to IBF Flyweight (112. lb) in December 2007. Both men weighed in right at the division limit.
Unavailable in the United States, reports out of Mexico portray a dominant performance for Montiel through each frame before securing a stoppage with two second remaining in round three. The bout marked Montiel’s fourth consecutive knockout win and fifth overall victory since a lackluster loss to then WBO Bantamweight (118 lbs.) titlist Jhonny Gonzalez in May 2006.
The ultimate significance of the bout may come by way of comparison to Montiel’s key rival, 26-year old Mexican Cristian Mijares (35-3-2, 14 KO) who holds both the WBC and WBC belts in the weight class. Maldonado held Mijares to a draw in early 2006, though two fights later Mijares would win his WBC title belt by decision over tough Katsushige Kawashima in Japan.
Montiel is a two-time WBO titlist and now can hope for a unification showdown with certain national bragging rights at stake.
The card was promoted by Mexico’s Mens Fashion Promotions.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]