By Jake Donovan
Lightweight titlist Humberto Soto preserved one rematch with a win in another, turning back the challenge of Fidel Monterrosa in their return go Saturday evening in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico.
Scores were 98-92, 100-90 and 100-88 in favor of Soto in their non-title fight, which aired live on Fox Sports Espanol.
There was growing concern going in that Soto could suffer a cut or injury and thus be forced to postpone his spring showdown with Urbano Antillon in a rematch of their 12-round war last December.
Soto put those fears to rest with an intelligent performance, though without sacrificing entertainment value, no easy feat considering their bout last September wasn’t particularly memorable.
He almost made it easy on everyone after flooring Monterrosa towards the end of the opening round. A perfectly timed left hook put Monterrosa flat on his back, with Soto strolling to a neutral corner like a calm assassin, eyeing his opponent’s recovery progress while planning his next move.
It was the lone knockout of the evening, though hardly the only time that Soto managed to capture the attention of his familiar foe.
A clubbing right midway through the fourth round hand caught Monterrosa on the temple and turned his legs to jelly. Monterrosa responded by wrapping his arms around Soto’s waist, drawing a warning for excessive holding.
A pair of anxious moments came at separate portions of the seventh round. Soto attacked, scoring repeatedly to the body, but was warned by the referee for low blows that didn’t appear low at all.
Still, it was enough to convince Soto to change up, which he did later in the round, catching Monterrosa with a series of left hooks upstairs that left him trapped and battered along the ropes though able to survive the round.
Monterrosa came back in the following round, though nearly ended the fight with a punch well south of the border. It wasn’t a traditional low blow, but instead catching Soto on the left hip, causing the veteran to drop to the canvas in pain and producing a brief delay.
Action resumed after a brief hug between the two, with nothing but professionalism exuded down the stretch until the final bell.
Soto improves to 55-7-2 (32KO) with his tenth straight win, including his second over Monterrosa in a span of three fights and five months.
Monterrosa falls to 25-3 (19KO) with the loss, ending a two-fight win streak against non-descript competition. He remains winless outside of his native Colombia.
While Monterrosa figured out a way to win in any other part of the world, Soto plots a way to beat Antillon for a second time in as many tries.
Soto’s first encounter with Antillon served as a makeshift pay-per-view headliner with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. pulled out a week prior to the show due to injury. Their rematch will take place in May, in a chief supporting capacity as the final preliminary bout prior to Manny Pacquiao’s pay-per-view headliner versus Shane Mosley.
Assuming nothing goes wrong between now and May, the rematch with Antillon will mark Soto’s fifth fight in a span of just under a year. Even in his 14th year as a pro, there remains few in the sport at the championship level who fight as often as Soto, who has fought at least four times per calendar year every year dating back to 2007.
Even more impressive in his rate of activity is the fact that his past six fights have all went the distance, including his grueling war with Antillon late last year. Given his style and the fact that he’s creeping towards the twilight of his career, it’s almost expected to endure a hiccup or two along the way, hence the concern that he wouldn’t escape Saturday’s bout unscathed.
Instead, Soto continues to handle his business like the professional that he is and has been throughout his career. For that and the sake of what lies ahead, Urbano Antillon and the boxing public are forever grateful.
Fringe featherweight contender Miguel Beltran Jr provided a highlight reel moment for the crowd with a sensational fourth round knockout of Roberto Tamayo. A right hand put Tamayo down and out, prompting the bout to be waved off on the spot at 1:50 of the fourth round.
Jose Carlos Vargas scored a second round knockout of Alexis Gonzalez, although the fight-ending sequence was reduced to replay viewing, as the live feed abruptly clipped the sequence due to an untimely commercial break.
The fight was an unnecessary rematch to their September ’09 encounter, though at least gave Vargas the chance to join the five others who have knocked out Gonzalez in a career just nine fights deep.
Their first bout went the four-round distance but Vargas took care of business in proper fashion this time around. A left hook, right uppercut left hook combination floored Gonzalez, with no count offered as the fight was stopped at 2:59 of the second round.
Vargas improves to 8-3-1 (5KO), recovering from a November ’10 points loss to David Gaspar in a bout also aired on Fox Sports. Gonzalez falls to 1-8 (1KO), suffering his second stoppage loss in just 15 days.
The show was presented by Zanfer Promotions and Top Rank.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com.
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