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SUPERNOVA: Nonito Donaire TKO2 Fernando Montiel

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*****

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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Tags: ABNER MARES BANTAMWEIGHTS Fernando Montiel JOSEPH AGBEKO Nonito Donaire

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