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Selby expecting tough fight against Montiel

By Scott Gilfoid: IBF World featherweight champion Lee Selby (21-1, 8 KOs) will be facing the aging 36-year-old former three division world champion Fernando Montiel (54-4-2, 39 KOs) tomorrow night on Wednesday on Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN from the Gila River Arena, in Glendale, Arizona.

This is a fight that is hard to really like because of Montiel being so much smaller and older than Selby. The 5’4” Montiel started his career out as a flyweight, and it was only recently that he moved up to featherweight. #10 IBF Montiel clearly doesn’t belong in the ring with someone as tall as the 5’8 ½” Selby.

We’re talking mismatch here. I can sort of see why Selby’s promoter Eddie Hearn chose to match Selby against Montiel because it’s a safe fight, and it’s against a name that the hardcore boxing fans will recognize in the UK.

The casual fans won’t know who Montiel is obviously, because it’s not as if he’s had a lot of fights over there. Most of Montiel’s fights have taken place in Mexico and the United States. Montiel really hasn’t been a factor since he was beaten by Nonito Donaire and Victor Terrazas in 2011.

Since those defeats, Montiel has won his last eight fights but against weak opposition. The fact that Montiel was willing to eat up 4 years of his career facing weak opposition rather than true world class level opposition suggests that there’s some confidence issues after the defeats to Donaire and Terrazas.

“He’s [Montiel] got bags of experience, by far the most experienced fighter I’ve boxed, and could be the best even if he is past his prime,” Selby said to “He mixes it up, he boxes off the back foot. I’m expecting a tough fight.”

So basically, Selby is fighting an old pumped up flyweight on Wednesday night rather than an actual featherweight. That’s real good. If Hearn wants to comb the lighter weight classes for small guys for Selby to fight, why didn’t he try and convince WBC flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez to take the fight with him? Gonzalez is 5’4” like Montiel, but at least he’s in his prime and unbeaten at 43-0.

Selby is fighting on Premier Boxing Champions in the U.S in hopes of becoming a star in America. The problem is that Selby won’t be able to do that unless he faces the higher level fighters in competitive fights. Beating an aging fringe contender like Montiel, who hasn’t faced a live body in four years, isn’t the way for Selby to become a star.

The way Selby can become a star is by facing the likes of Gary Russell Jr, Vasyl Lomachenko, Abner Mares, Leo Santa Cruz, Nonito Donaire, Jhonny Gonzalez, Jayson Velez, Oscar Valdez, Simpiwe Vetyeka, Jesus Cuellar and Ronny Rios. Those are the guys that Selby should be fighting, not an older fighter like Montiel, who has seen better days in his rearview mirror. 10,000 yesterday’s ago, Montiel was a very good fighter, but at the lighter weight classes, not at featherweight.

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