Lance Pugmire reports for the Los Angeles Times that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says HBO has set aside a February 19 date for a fight between star bantamweights Fernando Montiel and Nonito Donaire. In the article, Donaire explains why he didn't take part in the Showtime bantamweight tournament.
Montiel (43-2-2, 33 KO) won the WBC bantamweight title with a stoppage of Hozumi Hasegawa in April, an upset to many at the time, as Hasegawa was widely regarded as the No. 1 bantamweight in the world. That belt was unified with the WBO title he already had in his possession. Donaire (24-1, 16 KO) is a former flyweight titlist, and held an interim trinket at super flyweight as well. His career has stagnated for the most part since a win over Vic Darchinyan in 2007, and he will next face Wladimir Sidorenko on the December 4 Top Rank PPV headlined by Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Alfonso Gomez.
Montiel and Donaire have been rumored opponents for around a year now, with the fight repeatedly being in discussion but simply not happening. Even with the news from Arum that he's going to do the fight if they both win to end 2010 (Montiel is likely to face Eric Morel or somebody before the calendar turns), there will still be skeptics until the names are in ink on the dotted line.
The LA Times report also includes numerous tidbits on Timothy Bradley-Devon Alexander, the rest of the 12/4 PPV, and more.