- From this point on, Nonito Donaire is one of the elite boxers of the sport. Now with his second signature win of his career (the first being Vic Darchinyan), Donaire is the class below featherweight. A scrap with Abner Mares might be a fun fight but I'm most interested in seeing how Donaire responds to the higher weights. It's clear he can carry 122 lbs., but the big game is up at 126. Top Rank has Steve Molitor and Guillermo Rigondeaux at 122. If Donaire wants to move up, I think Molitor is the best match-up at this point. If Donaire wants to wait to see who wins the Showtime bantamweight tourney, that is his right, but I think the bigger money is at featherweight.
- Don't underestimate the influence of Victor Conte in Donaire's success. The former BALCO trainer and nutritionist is doing things that are leaps and bounds above most other conditioning coaches. If everything is legit (and I hope it is), Donaire has an immense advantage in conditioning over most other fighters.
- That was an absolutely devastating left hook that floored Fernando Montiel. That Montiel got up demonstrates his champion mettle but his age and the fact that he weighed in as a super featherweight leads me to believe that we have seen the last of Fernando Montiel as an elite fighter. If he can't make 118 comfortably, he's in big trouble because his chin can't take the higher weights. Perhaps he has an entertaining fight with Joseph Agbeko left, but I think Montiel's best ended in 2010.
- Mike Jones is a solid A-minus fighter. His jab is A-minus. His power is A-minus. His athleticism is A-minus. His arsenal is A-minus. In fact, this makes him a strange fighter. Most A-minus fighters do a couple of things great and have a fatal flaw or two. Thus they average out to an A-minus. Jones is a well-rounded fighter who gave his best performance tonight. I'm not sure I've seen greatness yet in him but I definitely am intrigued.
- In the 11th round, after he scorched Soto-Karass with a straight right hand, Jones tried to finish Soto-Karass off with a couple of left hooks. Once he saw that Soto-Karass wasn't going down, he backed off. In that exchange, it was apparent that Jones learned a lot from his last fight and he understood that forcing the action wasn't going to lead to the knockout. With all of Jones' athletic gifts, we should add boxing aptitude and coachablility to the list. These are very important advances.
- I think the obvious fight in 2011 is Mike Jones and Andre Berto. At this point, I favor Berto with his athletic gifts, versatility in the ring and awkward, aggressive style. But with another fight or two, Jones may well be on that level. If I were Berto, I would strike while the iron is hot and take on Jones before it is too late.
- Jesus Soto-Karass is the ultimate welterweight trial horse. If you can't beat him, you can't be an elite welterweight. Unfortunately, as a pressure fighter, his work rate is not busy enough. He has the heart but he can't match the ferocity of Antonio Margarito or Jose Luis Castillo. Too much of tonight, Soto-Karass doubled as a piñata in addition to a fighter. He is what he is and there may be a nice payday or two left for him.
- Joe Goossen is still one of the best ring strategists out there. Not many people understand the fight game better than he does. He no longer gets much of the elite boxing talent and I'm not sure if today's new conditioning and training techniques have passed him by, but as a cornerman and ring strategist he is simply one of the best.
The big fights, the best fighters and the colorful characters in the world of boxing.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Notes from the Donaire-Montiel card
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