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List of Articles by Sid Bañez



Nietes: Will better deals produce better performance?

By Sid Bañez
PhilBoxing.com
23 Aug 2010



This is not to denigrate the accomplishments of WBO minimumweight champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes but to highlight his potentials.

Notching three victories in enemy territory - even if the last two were virtual cliffhangers - is a feat in itself. Against Chango Vargas it is an understatement to say that he struggled; the split decision would have looked like a gift it it were not handed down in Mexico. Such a seeming aberration of a verdict should make the boxing world take a closer admiring look this former gym hand: Evidently there was something the two judges saw in Nietes that even seasoned ring commentators and serious boxing fans did not see in that fight.

A boxer - usually a poor boy whose story is not seldom told (my apologies to Simon and Garfunkel) – has to go through hell to be world champion, much much more to remain one. Imagine how much it takes for Nietes to defend that crown three times in the challengers’ hometown and you’ll forgive him for his fights that didn’t come up to expectations, the knockouts that didn’t come.

In Nietes’ last fight hell was typified by the oven-hot coliseum and the fact that at fight time Mario Rodriguez was being cooled by an electric fan from behind, while Team Nietes was left to roast in his corner. Add the humiliation of a decrepit dressing room and a broken corner stool and you’ll have the complete picture of a virtual hell fashioned deliberately or by neglect by the host boxing association.

Certainly Mexican Fernando Montiel was not subjected to even the subtlest indignities when he fought Z Gorres in Cebu City. Why, even lesser fighters had glowing comments about how the Filipinos treated them, both the promoters and the public. Maybe we’ve been too nice and the Mexicans couldn’t reciprocate appropriately in hosting Nietes’ fight.

For sure, Filipino fighters being treated shabbily abroad even in title fights is not new. Rolando Navarette and his team had to take a taxi to the venue when he fought and subsequently dethroned Cornelius Boza-Edwards. Even Manny Pacquiao was largely ignored, even ridiculed by the media, before he dethroned Ledwaba. But they were challengers then. Nietes deserves the common courtesy commonly accorded a world champion. It’s a no-brainer that this common courtesy includes a well ventilated venue, a decent dressing room and a good corner stool.

What would it take for Nietes to have the luxury of defending his title in a neutral country or in the Philippines? The highly respected Aldeguers of the famous ALA Gym in Cebu may have to knock on more doors, do a bit more persuasion and arm-twisting to spare Nietes of another hostile crowd and a disadvantaged corner in his next fight. Philippine corporate sponsors and the TV network involved can bet on the potentials of this gritty fighter and stage his fight in the country.

For his part, Nietes must develop more firepower and unleash it painfully if he wants to get more attention than what he is now getting. His last two fights showed him fading worrisomely towards the end, looking like he’ll suffer the knockout rather than inflict it. If a boxer is only as good as his last fight, Nietes has a lot of stepping up to do.

Would even some basic improvements in fighting conditions make Nietes a much better fighter? Very likely.


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