Many fans believe that the showdown between Fernando Montiel and Nonito Donaire on Feb. 19 will determine who is the best fighter in the stacked bantamweight division. Others say the winner of Showtime’s bantamweight tournament, which involves four RING-ranked contenders (pictured) and concludes on April 23, rightfully deserves to be recognized as the best 118-pound fighter.
One thing is certain, the pecking order in what is arguably the sport’s deepest weight class could experience major shakeups over the next three months.
“Two upcoming bouts could have a profound effect on THE RING’s bantamweight ratings,” said Nigel Collins, Editor-in-Chief of THE RING magazine. “First is the match between No. 1 contender Fernando Montiel and No. 5 contender Nonito Donaire on Feb. 19 in Las Vegas. In all likelihood, the winner of that fight will be the No. 1 contender, which means that any bout for the vacant RING championship will have to go through him. Where the loser ends up being ranked will depend on how close the fight turns out to be.
“The finals in Showtime’s bantamweight tournament should also shake up the 118-pound rankings, as No. 3 contender Joseph Agbeko will be fighting No. 4 contender Abner Mares on April 23 in Los Angeles. The winner of this bout will also probably advance.”
However, should the winner of Montiel-Donaire face the winner of Agbeko-Mares, that highly anticipated showdown won’t necessarily be for THE RING’s vacant bantamweight title.
“The wildcard is No. 2 contender Anselmo Moreno, who is scheduled to make his ninth defense of the WBA belt, against Lorenzo Parra, on Feb. 26 in Panama City,” Collins said. “Moreno has an excellent resume and has avenged his only loss, to Ricardo Molina, via TKO. Unless he loses to Parra, which is unlikely, or looks bad winning, the odds are pretty good that Moreno will retain his No. 2 position.
“If, however, one of the aforementioned things happen in Moreno-Parra, there is a good chance that the winners of Montiel-Donaire and Mares-Agbeko fights could fight each other for the vacant RING world championship.”
Either way, fight fans will be watching.
RING RATINGS UPDATE
Tomas Rojas (No. 3 last week) and Nobuo Nashiro (No. 2 last week) trade places as a result of Rojas’ 12-round decision over Nashiro.