Published Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 | 6:30 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 | 8:36 p.m.
The few people who didn't already consider Nonito Donaire one of the best boxers in the world will now have to admit they were wrong.
Donaire (26-1) captured the WBC/WBO bantamweight belt with a second round knockout of champion Fernando Montiel (42-3-2) Saturday night at Mandalay Bay Events Center. After dominating the first four minutes of the fight, Donaire caught Montiel with a lethal left hook. In the co-Main Event, Mike Jones won a unanimous decision against Jesus Soto-Karass.
Check below for the Las Vegas Sun's round-by-round coverage of the televised card and come back later for full coverage.
Donaire vs. Montiel
Round Two: Donaire is landing shots whenever he pleases and Montiel doesn't have much of a defense. He's already winning the round, but makes quick work of the bantamweight champion with a ferocious left hook 2:08 into the round. He knocks down Montiel, who fights his way back up at least for a second. Donaire rushes back in and Montiel can't even defend himself. The referee calls the fight at 2:25 of the round. Donaire wins by knockout and takes the WBO/WBC bantamweight title.
Round One: The start belonged to Donaire alone. He landed at least three times more punches than Montiel and landed combinations with ease. Donaire worked the body to open up his jab in textbook fashion. Montiel has struggled to stop the quickness of Donaire's strikes. An easy 10-9 round for Donaire.
Jesus Soto-Karass vs. Mike Jones
Round Twelve: Soto-Karass is on the offensive and starts the round out with a flurry of punches. Jones seems content to pick his spots and escape with a decision. He lets loose a little bit in the final minute, but Soto-Karras has recovered from his near knockout two rounds ago and isn't getting knocked out. Mike Jones takes a unanimous decision with the judges scoring it 117-111, 116-114 and 116-112.
Round Eleven: Althogh Jones is tired, he looks extremely fresh compared to his opponent. Soto-Karras' face is covered in blood and swelling, but he doesn't want to go anywhere. There's no quit in Soto-Karass no matter how many jabs and hooks Jones lands. Jones is now up 107-104 on the Las Vegas Sun scorecard.
Round Ten: Jones is on the verge of finishing Soto-Karass. The crowd roars for two of his combination attacks that leave Soto-Karass barely hanging on. Soto-Karass never falls to the ground, but is hobbled on multiple occasions. For the first time, this is officially Jones' fight to lose.
Round Nine: This round features perhaps the best exchanges yet. After a slower last two rounds, Jones finds some power early and works Soto-Karras' body. He starts backing up after a solid minute of domination when Soto-Karass gets a nice combination in. He wins the final 45 seconds or so, but Jones takes the round. According to Las Vegas Sun's scoring, he's ahead by one round.
Round Eight: Soto-Karass continues coming after Jones, who seems content to try to outbox instead of attack. That works for a while until Soto-Karass works his way inside and comes back with a left hook that sends Jones' head flying to the side. Another close round, but give it to Soto-Karass. It's all even after eight.
Round Seven: Soto-Karass takes a deep breath and goes after Jones. He looks more refreshed this round and starts working his body shots consistently for the first time since the early rounds. Jones still lands his jab with ease, but it isn't creating much damage at this point. Soto-Karass takes his first round of the last three, while Las Vegas Sun has Jones leading 67-66.
Round Six: Soto-Karass gets Jones on the ropes and lands the most powerful punch of the round with an uppercut, but Jones controlled the pace other than that. His jab is still landing crisply most of the time as Soto-Karass' defense continues to be shaky. Jones wins his fourth round.
Round Five: Soto-Karass is displaying a valiant effort to keep fighting, but Jones has taken control in the fifth round. Jones seems to be in better shape and is using the quickness of his jab against Soto-Karass. Soto-Karass puts his hands down and challenges Jones on two occasions. But Jones is sticking to his game plan like he vowed he would. Jones takes this round and leads 48-47, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
Round Four: After discussions of whether the fight should go on with Soto-Karass' swollen eye, he clearly feels a sense of urgency and attacks Jones. He lands some nice punches and the crowd is behind Soto-Karass. But it has to hurt when a Jones hook hits Soto-Karass' eye and more blood comes streaming down his face. Jones lands more punches, but Soto-Karass was the aggressor. Close round with a lean to Soto-Karass.
Round Three: This was the round the fans wanted to see. An accident headbutt causes swelling and a cut under the left eye of Soto-Karass. His right eye matches soon after when Jones connects with a strong hook. The doctor checks on Soto-Karass, but lets the fight go on. Soto-Karass attacks and hits Jones with a couple combinations. But it's probably not enough. Jones steals second straight round.
Round Two: Even for the opening minute with neither Soto-Karass nor Jones taking control. Jones changes that with a nice hook that sends Soto-Karass backing up. He's not hurt, though, and comes right back at Jones. Soto-Karass works his jab, but Jones counters and landed a few more punches this round. Second goes to Jones. Las Vegas Sun has it an even 19-19.
Round One: Soto-Karass works his straight left to start the fight and lands a few punches before Jones start protecting against it. Jones begins to counter and lands a hook or two to Soto-Karass' chin. The round looks even until Soto-Karass gets Jones on the ropes and lands an effective combination to the body. Not too many fireworks in the first round, but lasvegassun.com scores it 10-9 for Soto-Karass.
It’s a little early to start contemplating fight of the year candidates, but on the surface tonight’s WBC/WBO bantamweight title bout between Fernando Montiel (43-2-2) and Nonito Donaire (25-1) has all the ingredients.
Fans are still filtering into their seats and the buzz is growing as the live HBO portion of tonight’s fight card at the Mandalay Bay Events Center nears. In 30 minutes, the first of two title fights get underway when welterweights Mike Jones and Jesus Soto-Karass clash.
It’s an immediate rematch of a November fight on the Manny Pacquaio vs. Antonio Margarito undercard in Dallas at Cowboys Stadium. Soto-Karass and Jones engaged in all-out war that was an ultimate crowd pleaser.
Jones nearly knocked out Soto-Karass in a dominant second round, but couldn’t keep the same pace throughout. To many sweet science aficionados, Soto-Karass did enough to win the 10-round bout.
But the judges awarded a majority decision to Jones, a controversial result that prompted tonight’s fight. Neither fighter resisted the rematch when offered.
While Soto-Karass feels he should have won, Jones insists he wasn’t at his best after exhausting himself in the second round.
Rematch is also a word being thrown around the Montiel vs. Donaire fight. Fans expect so much out of the two that they think one matchup won’t be enough.
That talk might be a little premature, but this bout is a long time in the making. Montiel has held titles in three different weight classes and has recently ran to the top in 118 pounds, capturing two belts by beating Ciso Morales and Hozumi Hasegawa last year.
He’s a veteran who has fought professionally since 1996. Donaire’s career didn’t start until 2001, but he’s climbed his way to the top since.
Donaire has won 24 straight, including 17 and eight of his last nine by knockout. Donaire says his speed will be the difference against Montiel.
Montiel laughs off those suggestions and has seemed as confident as ever all week. He might be the underdog, but he’s also the champion.
Stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for round-by-round updates of the two title fights.