By Jake Donovan
Fernando 'Kochulito' Montiel remains a long way from grace, but the former three-division champ will be damned if he lets anyone convince him that the end is near.
The 33-year old returns to the ring on November 24, in search of his third straight win as he faces Giovanni ‘Ruso’ Caro in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The bout will take place at the super bantamweight limit, around where he has hovered for his previous five contests following a devastating 2nd round knockout against Nonito Donaire in Feb. ’11.
If he had his way, a rematch with Donaire would be in the works. Montiel – a lifelong gym rat who trains out of his father’s facility in Los Mochis – understands the nature of the boxing business, well aware that such a fight is a tough sell at the moment.
Instead, he has set his sights on another top super bantamweight, Abner Mares. The unbeaten two-division champ managed to align himself with Donaire after calling out the division’s lineal champ following his spirited points win over Anselmo Moreno last weekend in Los Angeles.
Montiel liked what he saw from Mares in the ring that night – but at the same time saw something that he liked should the two ever collide.
"I think I still have the physical ability yet to challenge a quality opponent like Abner Mares,” Montiel (48-4-2, 37KO) insists. “After last Saturday’s show, everyone asked me if I wanted to fight him. The truth is I would love the chance to do so.
“I know I'm rambling for now; I have to respect my opponent on the 24th in Juarez. I am 100% focused on the fight (with Caro), but a (future) fight with Mares really excites me.”
Caro (24-11-4, 19KO) comes in having lost three of his last five. One of the defeats, however, was a bout in which the Mexican journeyman came within inches of claiming a super bantamweight crown when he fell just short against then-122 lb. titlist Takalani Ndlovu last October in Mexico.
Montiel knows better than to take next weekend’s stay-busy fight for granted – the last time he did that, he landed on the wrong end of an upset points loss to Victor Terrazas last summer. The 16-year veteran knows every fight matters these days if he’s serious about one more run at the top in 2013.
"I’m at a great moment in my career,” Montiel believes. “I’m in the final stages of strong preparation for the fight with Caro. I’ll be 100% physically and mentally prepared to give a great show not just to the people of Juarez, but to all viewers and show that I'm ready to get the fourth world title.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox