Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.
It's very rare for a boxing championship-belt holder to be an underdog in his title-defense fight.
But Fernando Montiel, the WBC and WBO bantamweight champion, is listed as a +220 underdog (win $2.20 for a $1 wager) for his Feb. 19 title defense against heralded Nonito Donaire at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
After hearing the odds Monday during a press event at Mandalay Bay, the veteran Montiel (43-2-2 with 33 KOs) jokingly offered some words of advice for bettors.
"The only advice I can tell you is to run to the sports books and try to win some money with me," Montiel said.
Those affiliated with the fight are billing it as one of the most intriguing of the year thanks to its two accomplished fighters.
"We think they are the two best bantamweights in the world," said Bruce Trampler, Top Rank's matchmaker. "When you look at pound-for-pound fighters, and you see two guys like this who can box, who can punch and who can take a punch, it's just a dream matchup. As a fan, it's just a fight I'm looking forward to."
The fight is scheduled for 12 rounds, but don't expect it to go the distance, both fighters warned.
"It will not go 12 rounds," Donaire said. "He has tremendous power. I have tremendous power. May the best man win.
"I want to win by knockout. He wants to win by knockout," Donaire continued. "That's why I think this fight will not go 12 rounds."
The 28-year-old Donaire (25-1, 17 KOs) is widely considered one of the sport's top-10 pound-for-pound fighters. Nine of this last 10 victories have come by knockout, and he enters the fight with a nine-year, 24-fight winning streak.
In his most recent fight, Donaire floored for WBA champion Wladimir Sidorenko in the fourth-round Dec. 4, battering the overmatched fighter from start to finish in a convincing win.
"He can talk all day and he can fight all night. He is a terrific star," Trampler said. "A lot of people have said to us, 'Is he going to be the next Manny Pacquiao?' because both are Filipino. I would rather have him be the first Nonito Donaire. I think he is terrific. He is a big fan favorite and he can back it up with his fists."
The 31-year-old Montiel, however, is no slouch.
Eight of his last 10 victories have come by stoppage, including eight world title fights. He's the fourth Mexican fighter to win titles in three different weight divisions, joining the likes of legends Julio Cesar Chavez, Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera.
Donaire surely will be one of the toughest challengers in Montiel's lengthy career.
"The only thing I can tell you is that it won't last 36 minutes," Montiel said.
"It will be a night of power. He has power, and I have power."