Last night at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, two solid prizefighters put on contrastingly different exhibitions of their skills as WBC lightweight champion Humberto Soto and bantamweight contender Nonito Donaire emerged with impressive victories against quality opponents.
Donaire stopped former WBA titlist Wladimir Sidorenko in four dominant rounds. The 34-year old from the Ukraine had absolutely no answers for Donaire’s speed, athleticism, or underrated power as he was tagged early and often before being dropped with a combination in the first. A sweeping left hand would register another knockdown for Donaire in the third and the fight was waived off one round later after a body shot produced the fight’s third knockdown.
<— Slideshow: Soto and Donaire score thrilling wins
It was an impressive victory considering that Sidorenko had yet to be stopped as a professional, having logged decision bouts with respectable foes such as Joseph Agbeko, Ricardo Cordoba, and reigning WBA boss Anselmo Moreno. Against Donaire he was shook from the get go and his bloody mask of a face told the tale of a veteran fighter who was simply overwhelmed by youth and quickness on this night. Donaire now appears slated for a February 19th bout with WBC and WBO champion Fernando Montiel at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
In the evening’s main event, Soto produced a ‘Fight of the Year’ type of victory after going twelve grueling rounds with Chihuaua, Mexico’s Urbano Antillon. The fight was full of action from the early going as Antillon, a former sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao and the late Edwin Valero, pressed the issue and forced Soto with no choice but to return firepower.
The action was full of ebbs and flows but Soto seemed to be just a little busier at times, a bit harder of a puncher during certain stretches, and basically more of a complete fighter despite Antillon’s willingness throughout. A fading Antillon was rocked late in the fight but pushed on to the final bell. Scores of 115-112 and 114-113 were read in Soto’s favor as he defends his title for the third time.
After that performance Soto looks to be lined up for an enticing February 26th date against upstart Brandon ‘Bam Bam’ Rios at the Palms Casino and Resort in Las Vegas. Rios is a pressure fighter who pours on the heat and gets stronger as the fight goes by. He was in full command in his last fight against Anthony Peterson before the D.C. fighter was disqualified for hitting below the belt on repeated occasions. A Soto-Rios bout will likely be another war.
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at Trimond@aol.com