image: Top Rank

SUPERNOVA: Nonito Donaire TKO2 Fernando Montiel


Nonito Donaire showed what a star turn in the ring is supposed to look like when he demolished ringwise Fernando Montiel in the second round via electrifying TKO last night at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The time of the stoppage was 2:25.

Equal terms seemed out of the question once the opening bell rang. Donaire, 118, met Montiel center ring and immediately ripped blistering shots off that must have shocked Montiel with their velocity. A left hook seemed to buzz Montiel, also 118, less than a minute into the round. It was a violent harbinger of even more violent things to come. Montiel remained calm on the perimeter, but he was pushed back by a Donaire flurry during the final seconds of the round.

In the second, Montiel began to pressure Donaire, looking to get “The Filipino Flash” on the defensive. Later, Donaire, 28, would say that he allowed Montiel to take the lead in order to exploit countering opportunities. And exploit them he did, with blitzkrieg precision. With about 30 seconds to go in the round, Montiel, 31, threw an overhand right and Donaire responded—in a fraction of a millisecond—with a counter left that sped to its target like something out of the Aurora Project. Montiel, Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, hit the deck with a sonic boom. A neurological short-circuit forced Montiel to spasm on the canvas momentarily.

That Montiel rose, after that brief but frightening paroxysm, to beat the count tells you all you need to know about him as a fighter. Referee Russell Mora asked Montiel to step forward, but Montiel, glassy-eyed, did not respond. Nevertheless Mora let the fight continue in what can only be considered a questionable decision. “I hit him with a left hook, looked down and saw him twitching,” Donaire said. “I knew the fight was over then.” Donaire, San Leandro, California, bolted out of a neutral corner and threw only a couple of punches before Mora realized that Montiel was in a galaxy far, far away.

When two talented fighters meet in the ring, you hope, naturally, for a great fight. Failing that, you hope for a great performance, something to remember. Donaire, who improves to 26-1 (18), delivered the latter, leaving a world-class operator in smithereens with ease. After nearly a decade and a half as a professional, Montiel suffers only his third loss—and first inside the distance. “I knew we both had the punching power to knock each other out,” Montiel, now 44-3-2 (34), said. “I made the first mistake and I paid for it.”

It is almost impossible to prepare yourself for the kind of speed, athleticism, and power Donaire combines in a single, breathtaking package. Whatever flaws he has are nearly impossible to exploit because of his meteoric quickness and reflexes.

With Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko meeting in April to determine the winner of a Showtime bantamweight mini-tournament, a natural opponent for Donaire seems within striking distance.

But what they saw streak by and explode last night was something they, unlike the rest of us, may never want to see again. At least not up close.


This post uses quotes from the Associated Press.


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  • Andrew Fruman

    Hi Carlos,

    That was one hell of a performance from Donaire. I thought he would use his speed and range to play it a little safer, but he obviously had other things in mind beyond just getting the win.

    As frighteningly good as he looked, I still think a match-up against April’s winner, especially if it’s Agbeko, has the potential to be a very interesting fight. I could see Agbeko’s tricky style and tendancy to get rough, potentially throwing Donaire off his game enough to the point where he’s hesitant to rip counters with the kind of ferocity we’ve seen in his last couple outings.

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi Andrew,

      I also thought Donaire would box-punch last night, but I I guess all the man needs in one small opening for things like that not to matter. And, yes, Donaire looked like he had a purpose in the ring beyond just getting from one round to the other, unlike some other guys out there….You could see him think in there…Montiel, too, for as long as the second round lasted, appeared to be forming some kind of strategy after seeing how fast Donaire was in the first round.

      I tend to agree with you about Agbeko-Mares. Agbeko is an unpredictable junkball artist who might pose some problems. But I don’t think he has the work rate or foot movement to get it done. Mares is a nice fighter, but that’s an easy fight for Donaire, since Mares doesn’t think defense enough, in my opinion. There’s a lot of talk about how Top Rank would freeze out Mares, which is possible, but not definite, since Top Rank has real matchmakers and would probably advise Arum that Mares is not much of a threat.

  • Michael Nelson

    I can’t help but think Donaire has the best counter left hook since prime Roy. Talk about a dominant weapon. Guys know it’s gonna land flush, they just pray it doesn’t render them unconscious. For the most part, those prayers have fallen on deaf ears.

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi Michael,

      The thing about that hook is that it knocked out a fighter who was a lightweight in the ring! Montiel had an 8-pound weight advantage during the fight–a ridiculous figure for bantamweights–but he had an out-of-body experience when Donaire landed it.

  • sammlung

    Fighters with that kind of combination of speed and power come around veryyyy rarely. Montiel looked like he was moving through molasses in comparison to Donaire. What I loved about Donaire last night was you knew immediately he was looking to decapitate Montiel. Unlike Tim Bradley, he had the skill to capitalize on that desire.

    And to Andrew I think you are definitely right. The only bantamweight I can see possibly beating Donaire is Agbeko. As much as I like Mares, I would put money on Donaire by stoppage.

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi Sammlung,

      Donaire is incredibly gifted and my initial feeling about the fight was this (from a post last week):

      And on Saturday night, Montiel will bring all of his skill and craft into the ring against “The Filipino Flash.” But does that even matter? Donaire did not look quite human thrashing Wladimir Sidorenko a few months ago and the truth is Sidorenko is a solid fighter. When you do what Donaire did against a good professional, you are talking about a special talent, one whose flaws—iffy defense, for example—are hard to exploit because of an explosiveness not often seen in a boxing ring. Montiel is a world-class boxer. Pray for him, anyway.

      But I started to give Montiel a little more respect as the fight approached. In the end–as with Sidorenko–when you do that kind of damage to a topnotch professional fighter, you are talking about the real deal. We see explosive knockouts all the time–but usually of tomato cans and scrubs in mismatches on Telefutura and HBO. Here we have a fighter, Donaire, who has crushed three world-class fighters. Not many people can say that today.

      Nor are many fighters as classy as Donaire was after the fight.

      I agree with you completely about Donaire appearing focused and looking to make things as hard as possible for Montiel. This is what a world-class fighter does–zone in and take care of business. None of this talking, dancing, holding, shimmying nonsense you see so often nowadays.

      Agbeko looked pretty good against Perez, but he still has to get by Mares, which is not an easy fight for him. I see Donaire clobbering Mares, who is a nice guy and a good boxer, but Agbeko is craftier defensively, and can surprise you with some of his antics.

  • johnpaulfutbol


    Just got back from Vegas, that was fucking awesome! Donaire is a very tough proposition. Before the fight AlexMc, Jet79, Linusesq aka BigBank WillFrank and I were discussing the possibilities of Montiel winning. But, it was just mental masturbation….I don’t think any of us really believed that he could impose his advantages on Donaire due to the stuff that you mentioned in your post. I thought Montiel had a chance, but was all in for Donaire….however, that KO was shocking!

    I’d love to see Donaire face the winner of Mares/Agbeko, just because. I don’t think either really troubles him though…just my opinion, albeit an expert opinion. Agbeko might be able to make it rough in spots, but Mares, who I like a lot, probably just gets the crash test dummy treatment.

    I need to rewatch the fight. But sitting there in person, some of those shots he landed in the 1st round didn’t seem like shots that you should be able to land at that level without setting them up. When Montiel did manage to land a couple blows in the 2nd I’m not sure Donaire ever really had to reset his feet etc. Whenever Donaire landed it seemed that Montiel “felt” them, was wobbled and was made to rethink everything.

    Montiel is no joke to beat the count. But I thought the fight was over if you fell down twice?? Either way, the ref needed to stop that as soon as he was doing that “hey mom is that you?” bit with his arms.

    Anyway, great weekend surrounded by really great people. The whole card was fairly enjoyable. And of course, Donaire’s performace was pretty special.

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi JPF,

      glad to see you made it back in one piece. I think I spotted you in the crowd at one point: nice touch, painting your deely boppers mauve.

      That must have been one hell of a sight–seeing Montiel laid out like that was stunning on TV; in person, it must have been like some kind of spontaneous acid trip. You’re right, though, at that level–real, real world-class boxing, not the shit you see 90% of the time–Donaire is getting away with a lot by virtue of incredible speed, reflexes, and power. I’ve seen recently some people who seem to think Montiel must have turned pro just before the Hasegawa fight…but he was been fighting tough competition for a decade before that–Jose Lopez, Cruz Carvajal, Juan D. Cordoba, etc. He’s no joke. Even in the second round he had started to make adjustments, but Donaire put an end to that.

      A fighter can fall down as many times as he wants these days during the count….remember how Mills Lane kept counting when Tyson dropped Berbick 30 times with one punch? Also, Judah against Tszyu…But, in this case, the referee should clearly have stopped the fight. I have no idea how Montiel got up….when he was down, it looked like he was struck by lightning for a moment. Ugh. Boxing’s terrible beauty…

      Mares is a good, scrappy fighter, but I’m with you–he gets steamrolled. Agbeko is bad road for anybody, but he has too many flaws, I would guess, to really challenge Donaire.

      I’m glad you had fun–now you’ll never go back to paying for Sergio Mora fights again!

      How did Alvarado look? I’m hoping someone is crazy enough to make Paris the favorite when he fights Alvarado in April….make me a little $$$ for some Fig Newtons.

      • johnpaulfutbol


        Yeah, in person it was nuts. There was lot of Pinoys, but it was mostly a Mexican crowd. There was a great atmosphere in there, but when Donaire KO’d him, the air went out of the building. Literally shocking.

        Funny, the Alvarado fight is the one fight we missed. We’d got into the arena about 4:30 and he’d already won. The first bout we saw was some “prospect” named Bey get a gift draw against a very long Mexican guy who everyone was calling “Loco.” All in all a great card, not every fight was high on skill…but all in all pretty well matched.

        Haha! You were right when you made that comment about Donaire possibly being on a “Crouching Tiger” level!

        • Carlos Acevedo

          Hi JPF,

          You are definitely “Crouching Tiger” when you can do that to Montiel. Darchynian, whom I’ve never thought too much of skill-wise–and his rep was blown way out of proportion by these drooling “P-4-P” fanatics who have been slobbering all over their bibs the past couple of days–was a nice win, but Montiel can actually box and think in the ring.

          I’m disappointed that you couldn’t give me a field report on Alvarado. Next time, please try to get to the fights by 2:30 p.m.