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NIETES VS FUENTES: A CLASSIC DRAW


PhilBoxing.com




CEBU CITY - It was the see-saw tactical battle everyone expected. The two champions started their fight probing and feinting. Donnie 'Ahas' Nietes, the defending WBO light flyweight champion, landed with his overhand rights and right hooks. Moises Fuentes, the challenger from Mexico and WBO minimumweight champion, came out firing with hooks and crosses in the second round, with Nietes landing in the final minute of the round.

In the third, Nietes landed his counters but Fuentes began to target Nietes' midsection and continued his body assault in the 4th. Nietes exhibited his excellent ability to slip punches and lateral movement and once again scored with his right hand with increasing regularity sending the crowd into a frenzy.

But in the 6th, Fuentes showed his resiliency and heart and inflicted cuts on both of the Filipino's eyebrows. One cut was due to a punch, the other, ruled by Referee Jack Reiss as inflicted by an accidental clash of heads.

A bleeding Nietes initiated a tactical retreat in the 7th and 8th, with Fuentes continuing his pressure. The crowd grew restless with the Mexican having more pop in his punches. The give and take battle continued in the 9th and 10th rounds.









With most of the rounds difficult to score, the last two rounds became life and death for both fighters. Nietes regained the spring in his step just in time, and landed scoring blows while avoiding Fuentes' charge with lateral movement. The crowd inside the Pacific Ballroom of the waterfront Hotel cheered and willed Nietes to fight before the final round where his hit and run tactics enabled him to score the much needed points.

The final bell brought the crowd to their feet with a collective applause. The three judges scorecards read – Atty. Danrex Tapdasan – 115-113 for Nietes while Adelaide Byrd - 114-114 and Pat Rusell - 114-114. All three scored the last two rounds for the Filipino enabling Nietes to retain his title.

POSTSCRIPT:

Fans and sportswriters at ringside were almost unanimous in saying that this was a close fight. This writer scored it 114-114. I also had the last two rounds for Nietes.

I took a quick poll from six boxing pundits – two agreed with Judge Tapdasan's score of 115-113, two had Fuentes winning, one totally agreed with the draw, another had it a draw leaning towards Nietes.

The difference of opinions underscored the intense struggle between two proud champions.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Rene Bonsubre, Jr..


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