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THE SNAKE FIGHTS FOR HIS LEGACY


PhilBoxing.com




CEBU CITY – The stakes are high for Donnie “Ahas” Nietes going into his May 10 rematch against Moises Fuentes of Mexico. He tried to downplay the suggestions of pressure and the burden of once again facing a difficult opponent in front of his countrymen when he answered the questions thrown by the members of the Cebu sports media.

Nietes spent a month of training in the U.S and had an opportunity to spar with with former WBA and WBO light flyweight champion Giovani Segura. Here at home, he sparred with reigning IBF light flyweight champ Johnriel Casimero and much heavier stablemates like Ralph Lulu and Melvin Gumban.

All of this effort is to prepare the champion for his defense of the WBO light flyweight title and a date with history. Nietes is nearing one of the most cherished records in Philippine sports – the seven year, three month reign of Gabriel “Flash” Elorde as world junior lightweight champion.

While Elorde ruled in one division as an undisputed champion, Nietes has reigned in two weight categories starting September 30, 2007, when he defeated Pornsawarn Kratingdaenggym of Thailand for the vacant WBO minimumwieght title in Cebu.

His career has been defined by three successful title defenses in Mexico, a feat still unmatched in Philippine boxing.

Then on October 8, 2011, Nietes defeated Mexico's Ramon Garcia Hirales via 12-round unanimous decision to win the WBO Light Flyweight title. He has defended the title thrice, including the majority draw against Fuentes in Cebu City.

“I have been studying the film of our first fight,” Nietes said during Friday's presscon held at the Rajah Park Hotel. I am prepared to go another twelve rounds but if the knockout presents itself, then I will finish him.”

Trainer Edmund Villamor said that he has seen Fuentes' stoppage of Luis dela Rosa of Colombia and he feels he has not seen anything new from the Mexican.

When asked about Merlito Sabillo's title loss in Mexico, Nietes simply replied, 'Manimalos ta,” (We will avenge his loss.)
The 31 year old Nietes' biggest asset is that he knows how to win. He may not win pretty all he time, but he knows how to win rounds. Even Fuentes acknowledged this. In an interview with Anson Wainwright in doghouseboxing last January, The 28 year old Fuentes called Nietes an “old wolf”. But he also stated that it was Nietes' hardest fight and no one punished him the way he did.

Nietes has beaten boxers who would go on to win world titles. Porsawan won the WBA minimumweight title in 2011, Mario Rodriguez, who lost to Nietes in his final defense of the 105 lb title, would win a world crown with the IBF. Jesus Silvestre, who lost to Nietes in a non-title bout in 2010, would win an interim world title with the WBA.

Nietes has truly earned his status as Ring magazine's number one ranked light flyweight, while Fuentes, who is also a former WBO minimumweight champion, is at number three. This makes the rematch one of the more important bouts in the history of the 108 lb division.

Despite all his accomplishments, Nietes has been under the shadow of the more popular Filipino champions. But he has invested his earnings well, another successful aspect with regards to how the ALA Gym trains their boxers, not just how to become good fighters, but good model citizens.

TRIVIA:
Michael Carbajal of the U.S. was the first light flyweight champ to be guaranteed a 1 million dollar purse when he defended the WBC/IBF Light Flyweight Championship in a rematch with Humberto Gonzalez in 1994. Gonzalez won the championship with a twelve-round split decision.

Nietes is not a million dollar man but Promoter Michael Aldeguer is optimistic that Nietes could get there if he scores spectacular wins. “Sponsors look at fights differently.” Aldeguer said.

Another significant bout in the division's history was when one of boxing's great “small fighters”. Ricardo Lopez of Mexico moved up in weight to beat Will Grigsby for the IBF title. Notable light flyweight titleholders include Yoko Gushiken of Japan, Hilario Zapata, of Panama, Saman Sorjaturong of Thailand and Roman Gonzales of Nicaragua.

The light flyweight (108lbs) division had it's first champion in 1975. The Philippines won a title in this weight category in 1983 when Dodie Penalosa captured the vacant IBF title. Other boxers who won titles at 108 are Tacy Macalos (IBF 1988) and Rolando Pascua (WBC 1990-91), Brian Viloria (WBC and IBF) and Rodel Mayol (WBC 2009).

PINOY PRIDE 25: THE REMATCH FOR GLORY will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena May 10. On the undercards are Milan Melindo, who will be pitted against Martin Tecuapetla of Mexico and the return of Rey “BoomBoom” Bautista who will face another Mexican, Sergio Villanueva.

Photo: WBO champion Donnie Nietes faces the Cebu media Friday afternoon at the Rajah Park Hotel in Cebu City during the launching of Pinoy Pride XXV - The Rematch. Photo by Dong Secuya.


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


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