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Donaire now world’s best bantamweight fighter


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Donaire now world’s best bantamweight fighter


Former Filipino world boxing champion Nonito Donaire Jr. already put one over Fernando Montiel heading into their title showdown this weekend in Las Vegas.


The 28-year-old Donaire was the runaway choice as the best bantamweight in the world today in an ongoing poll by The Ring Magazine, the so-called `Bible of Boxing.’


A high 82.5 percent of votes picked the soft-spoken Filipino as the top choice in addressing the question: "Who is the best bantamweight boxer today?"


Montiel, whom Donaire will be challenging on Feb. 19 (Feb. 20 in Manila) for the Mexican’s World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) 118-pound belts, came in a far second with 10.9 percent of votes.


The two will slug it out for 12 rounds at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.


Donaire (25-1, including 17KOs) expects boxing fans to be treated to an explosive fight that pits two of the top bantamweight fighters in the world.


“The question to me is what is going to happen when he fights a guy that is just as intelligent, just as strong and just as good as he is," said Donaire, who is set to arrive in Las Vegas within the week.


“That is the question — when he fights someone that is equal to him. I think it’s the first time he will find a fighter that is just as good as he is," he added.


Donaire gained instant recognition in 2007 when he stunned the boxing world with a spectacular fifth-round knockout of then unbeaten Vic Darchinyan to wrest the International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight crown in an action-packed match that was named as the "Upset of the Year."


Darchinyan has also moved up in weight since then, but was nowhere among the top choices as the best bantamweight fighter in the same Ring poll.


This was obviously due to a split-decision loss to Abner Mares last December in the initial round of the four-man single elimination bantamweight tournament organized and promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.


The unbeaten Mares received 2.9 percent of votes to place third behind Donaire and Montiel.


Joseph Agbeko of Ghana, who scored a unanimous decision over Colombian Yohnny Perez in the other half of the tournament, landed at fourth place with 2.2 percent of votes, while Perez was a notch below at fifth with one percent of votes.


Panamanian Anselmo Moreno brought up the rear at sixth place with 0.7 percent



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