Filipino bantamweight star Nonito Donaire says national pride will be on the line when he takes on Mexican champion Fernando Montiel in a world title fight February 19.
Donaire will be trying to take two titles off the 31-year-old Montiel who holds the WBC and WBO belts when they square off at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
"Fernando Montiel is the best fighter I have ever faced and certainly the toughest challenge of my career," Donaire said at a news conference Tuesday at a Los Angeles hotel. "It is going to be a battle of strength and will. I am leaving nothing to chance in my training and when the final bell rings the Philippines will have another mark in the victory column over Mexico."
Montiel (43-2-2, 33 KOs) is only the fourth Mexican boxer to capture world titles in three different divisions, next to his idol the legendary Julio Caesar Chavez.
"It is a very important fight for me and a great opportunity to prove that I am one of the best fighters in the world," Montiel said. "I expect a tough fight but I also expect to win."
Donaire (25-1, 17 KOs) of General Santos City, beat Ukrainian Wladimiro Sidorenko in his last fight to extend his win streak to 24 fights.
The 28-year-old former world flyweight champion, who is comfortable throwing punches with either hand, wobbled Sidorenko just 75 seconds into the fight with a powerful right and the stinging left hook combination.
His resume also includes a 2007 win over dual Aussie/Armenian champion Vic Darchinyan.