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Hasegawa-Montiel not a dead issue

The rumored, proposed, agreed-to, then canceled April 30 fight between bantamweight titlists Hozumi Hasegawa and Fernando Montiel may not be as dead an issue as Bob Arum let on. Rick Reeno of reports that Montiel's co-promoter, Fernando Beltran, says that they have agreed to fight Hasegawa in Japan on April 30, and that the WBO is considering Montiel's request to keep his title belt while he has a mandatory due with Eric Morel.

As Reeno says, the big stumbling block in Montiel keeping his belt and postponing a Morel bout could be the fact that the WBO is not recognized in Japan, meaning that if Hasegawa were to beat Montiel, they wouldn't get anything out of it other than having one of their champions beaten. The WBO could choose to strip Montiel outright, and Morel's team is going to petition for just that, which is no surprise.

If Montiel-Morel does go ahead, expect that to be on the May 8 Latin Fury PPV.

I have to believe there's significantly more money in a Hasegawa-Montiel fight in Japan than there is a Montiel-Morel fight anywhere. Morel really isn't a star and never has been much of one, and Montiel himself has never broken through to become one of Mexico's more popular fighters. Hasegawa is ranked by most as Japan's best fighters, and big crowds turn out for big fights over there. An incoming titleholder like Montiel is pretty rare, too -- to be honest, most of the Japanese titlists don't risk fighting guys this good.