MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxing superstar Nonito Donaire Jr. has admitted that Mexican foe Fernando Montiel could be the most exciting fighter he has encountered in his career.
“I think Montiel is the most complete fighter I will have faced," Donaire said in BoxingScene.com.
The "Filipino Flash" added that Montiel studies both his abilities and his opponents before going inside the ring.
"He’s the smartest guy I have ever faced. I have faced tougher guys than that. As far as the smartest, I would say he is the most strategic overall fighter," he said.
Donaire will battle Montiel at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 19 (February 20 in Manila).
He will attempt to seize the Mexican's World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight crowns.
Being "the biggest fight of (his) career," Donaire said he will be on his toes.
“This is going to be more a strategic fight... It’s going to be a long fight. One mistake from me or one mistake from him, and it’s going to be over," he said.
"I know he is up there and capable of anything. I am training as hard as I can to see how I can take advantage of Montiel. He has a lot to offer in this fight," the California resident added.
Donaire boasts of a 25-1 record and 17 of his bouts won via knockout (KO).
He last toppled Ukranian Wladimir Sidorenko to pave the way for the Montiel fight.
Donaire recently said he wants to move away from Manny Pacquiao's shadow by vowing to become the first Asian undisputed champion.
Donaire can keep up
Montiel, meanwhile, lauded Donaire and called him a "good fighter."
He said he is thrilled to face someone who matches up well to his boxing techniques.
"I think our styles match real well and it’s going to be a good fight," Montiel, who earlier considered Donaire's speed and power as threats, said.
However, Montiel said that he will also be on guard, in contrast to how the Filipino's most recent "victim," Sidorenko, fared in their match.
“[Donaire] looked really great against Sidorenko, but I’m not Sidorenko... Sidorenko just stood there in front of him, and I think you have to take that into consideration, too. I'm not going to be standing in front of him. I’m going to be moving around and I’ll be doing my job, too," he said.
Montiel added he and Donaire will try to make their match exciting.
“I want people to go in there and say that is a fight that they will remember for a long time. If we need to break into a war, let’s do a war, if that’s what needs to be done. But it is certainly not going to be a boring fight," he said.
Montiel has been undefeated since knocking out another Filipino, Ciso Morales, in February last year.
He has a 44-2-2 record, with 34 of his bouts won via KO.