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List of Articles by Manny Piñol


Roach: After Pacquiao, Nietes is RP's Best

By Manny Piñol
07 Oct 2011

Nietes (L) with Roach.

Two days before he attempts to win his second world boxing title, tiny Donnie Nietes, the former gymnasium janitor who became a world champion, has earned plaudits from Hall of Fame trainer, Freddie Roach, who called him an outstanding technical fighter.

"That small guy, Donnie Nietes, is a very outstanding technical boxer. He does not have much power but he is good," Roach said when I asked him who he thought ranked next to Manny Pacquiao as the best Filipino boxer of the period.

Roach, who does not mince words when it comes to breaking down and dissecting the potentials of boxers, also shared his views about Nonito Donaire, Jr., who surprisingly he did not consider as "next" to Pacquiao, upcoming US-based Filipino junior welterweight Mercito Gesta, Bernabe Concepcion, Rodel Mayol and his latest Filipino protege, featherweight Lorenzo Villanueva.

But his views on these other fighters will have to be reserved for future columns because with his championship bout against World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior flyweight champion Ramon Garcia Hirales set Saturday in Bacolod City, this is Donnie Nietes' week, The Donnie Nietes Show.

Shortly before his favorite student, Manny Pacquiao, sparred with Venezuelan lightweight Jorge Linares at the Coyeesan boxing gymnasium in Baguio City yesterday, I sat with Roach at ringside and tried to pick his brains on what he saw was the future of Philippine boxing after the Pacman.

"Who do you think comes close to Manny Pacquiao or even has the potentials of becoming even just 50 per cent of Manny," I asked Roach yesterday and was surprised that he did not pick the 28-year-old Donaire, ranked as among the best Pound For Pound.

Donnie Nietes, Roach said, is a technically outstanding fighter who displays a variety of punches that shows that he could adjust during fights inside the ring.

"He does not have much power but he is an outstanding technical fighter," he said.

Nietes, 29, indeed does not have much power scoring only 16 knockouts in his 28 professional victories, with one defeat and three draws, for a low 50 per cent knockout percentage.

But the former janitor at the ALA Boxing Gym who mopped the floor while the other name fighters of the Cebu-based boxing promotions company basked in the limelight and enjoyed the promotional support of the outfit could take pride in the fact that he defended the WBO miniflyweight title four times, three of these title defenses held in his opponents' territory, Mexico.

In fact, Nietes' solitary loss was in Jakarta, Indonesia when he suffered a split decision setback against Indon Angky Angkota in 2004.

Nietes' story is boxing's Cinderella tale and a testament to the intense desire of a commercial photographer's son to excel in boxing, training in the gymnasium when the marquee fighters have all but left and rested for the night.

Perhaps, Nietes' vindication is the fact that while he did not enjoy the hype that was showered on his clubmates Boom Boom Bautista, AJ Banal and even Z Gorres, it was the 5' 3" tall Negrense fighter who won for ALA its first world boxing title and may well be on his way to winning a second title in the junior flyweight division.

The WBO Junior Flyweight crown tomorrow may yet prove to be another proof of the taciturn Nietes' excellence as a prizefighter but it may not be as sweet as earning the praise of a boxing trainer considered as the world's best today.

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